I was honored to have my article “Why Perfectionism Isn’t Nature’s Way” appear in Maria Shriver’s wonderful Sunday Paper email yesterday, March 31st. Each Sunday Maria delivers powerful, passionate and purpose-driven content that provides hope for the path ahead. This issue focused on the things that happen when you “protect your values,” a strong message that resonates with my own work quite closely.
I was also thrilled to be included in this issue with inspirational authors including of course Maria, but also Gretchen Rubin and Kathy Lee Gifford. It really is a wonderful newsletter that I highly recommend you subscribe to.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the article, with a link back to the full piece for your convenience.
Why Perfectionism Isn’t Nature’s Way
With over 3.8 billion years of experimentation, nature has many lessons to teach us about life, leadership and creating environments in which every organism, including humans, will thrive. And yet as individuals, we often have thought patterns that contradict nature’s lessons and trip us up over and over again – like the belief that perfection is a worthy goal.
I’m not sure why or when being perfect first settled into my own consciousness as a desirable expectation, but it hindered the quality of both my personal and professional life. It took decades before I realized perfection was unattainable and ultimately gave up its pursuit. In the end, it was my study of nature as a map for business models and leadership practices that helped me understand why perfection as a goal is actually a flat out dead end.
Human beings and nature exist in the context of an external environment that is in constant motion. The speed and complexity of this dynamic world continues to accelerate, causing problems to mutate and adding layers of unexpected variation. Perfection, however, requires an environment that is static and highly controlled. Trying to achieve that state is like trying to stop nature from growing and evolving – our lives simply cannot work that way successfully, at least not for long.