Are You Afraid of Perfection? by Rich Hopkins

Welcome to another edition of the Saturday article reprints.

In recent post, you may have asked yourself  “Do I want to be good?  Or do I want to be great?”

Below, Rick Hopkins asks another question.  Take a look.  What do you think?

Are You Afraid of Perfection?
By Rich Hopkins

As of this writing, the Indianapolis Colts are 13-0. They are 3 wins away from the perfect regular season, on the cusp of besting the regular season mark of 14-0 by the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Radio shows are buzzing with opinions about whether or not the Colts will reach this accomplishment, and even whether or not they should. Since the Holy Grail in the NFL is a Super Bowl Championship, not a perfect season, there are many who feel a perfect season would put the Colts at a disadvantage going into the playoffs, citing the intense pressure to win 3 more games to finish the season 19-0. Many feel a loss would allow the Colts to “refocus”, and take the “target off their backs”. Others advise Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy to rest his starting players for the last two games, once they’ve clinched home field advantage for the playoffs. After all, why risk injury?

The pendulum of American culture swings wildly, as evidenced by the 1985 Chicago Bears team who, at 12-0, were singing the “Super Bowl Shuffle”, on their way to a near-perfect 18-1 season, including a dominating victory in Super Bowl XX. Today, the Indianapolis Colts play down their accomplishments, perhaps out of humility, perhaps out of fear.

Are you afraid of perfection? Perhaps the largest obstacle on our quest for success is our own self-doubt. The over-analysis of our approach to our jobs, families, and dreams creates a paralysis that prevents us from fully realizing our potential. Instead of making a commitment to excellence at every turn, people set low expectations so as not to disappoint their bosses, spouses, and themselves. Failure is easier to accept if success is only a tiny step up.

If we expect less of ourselves, it is reasonable that we will achieve less. If we choose to ease up on the throttle of life because we’d rather succeed at failing instead of risking failing to succeed, we not only increase our odds of overall failure, but we cheat ourselves out of potential greatness. To decide that losing is preferable to the risk involved in striving for a remarkable and singular achievement, smacks of a lack of self-confidence.

5 ways to know you’re expecting too little of yourself:

1. Setting a goal you have already achieved.

2. Setting a goal you would achieve normally through the course of your day.

3. Setting a goal you aren’t worried about not achieving.

4. Setting a goal that doesn’t result in growth, productivity, or profitability.

5. You stop setting goals entirely, not wanting to set yourself up for failure.

Goal-setting is only as effective as those who strive for them. Failure to make appropriate goals that align with your passions, dreams, and genuine needs will send you into a self-sabotaging spiral.

Take the time to examine your current goals. Once you are confident in where you are headed, don’t be afraid to announce to the world your intentions of success. When we raise others expectations, we raise our own. Finally, don’t be afraid of striving for perfection. Perfection just missed is recognized as excellence.

Rich Hopkins is a speaker, coach, and consultant who aligns his clients with their own potential. He has 20 years of business background in marketing, sales, and customer service. He consults with individuals, student groups, non-profit organizations, and corporations.

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