“It’s ok to make a mistake.” This is something I tell myself on a regular basis – my mantra. For as long as I can remember, I have lived a life out of fear of making a mistake. A couple of years ago, I realized that things, people, circumstances and I, even I can’t always be PERFECT. No matter how much you plan, prepare or try to protect; things happen and guess what, that’s ok.
So the word this week is PERFECT. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of PERFECT is having no mistakes or flaws; completely correct or accurate; having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc. Rather than pick one part of the definition, I would like to hone in on them all.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a means to determine your personality type. I’ve gone through this exercise in college and a couple of times at work. Each time, my results have remained the same. I am what the exercise has revealed, an “ISTJ”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the exercise, the “I” stands for Introversion, the “S” stands for Sensing, the “T” stands for Thinking and the “J” stands for Judging. I won’t bore you with all of the details about my personality type. If you want the background, I encourage you to visit The Myers & Briggs Foundation to learn more. I only mention this exercise and my result because it helped me to understand that I and the other ISTJs in the world, like “things to be done right” or in other words, PERFECT.
I can recall as a child, being afraid of getting into trouble for making a mistake. I have memories as an adult, of “shutting down” completely when situations have spiraled out of control. Co-workers have teased me about being PERFECT and unforgiving of others who do not share my same work ethic. I have struggled to forgive myself for not doing things 100% correctly and for not catching mistakes no matter how small or inconsequential they were. It wasn’t until I recognized and understood who I was that I could finally relax and tell myself, “it’s ok to make a mistake.”
In the grand scheme of things, it matters not that I misspelled a word or forgot a comma or semicolon if I got my point across. Does it really matter if I forgot to feed the dog on schedule if she was fed? Is it really important that my co-workers didn’t handle a situation exactly like I would have if the objective was met and achieved? In my mind, being PERFECT is not being without errors or flaws; rather striving for it and forgiving and laughing at yourself when things don’t entirely work out how you planned. It’s about the journey to be more and better than you were the day before. It’s the process of aiming for PERFECTion, but being at complete peace and comfort when you are not.
Am I PERFECT – certainly not. Do I try to be – of course. And when I miss the mark, it’s ok. Tomorrow’s another day to try. Is there anyone else out there aiming for PERFECTion like me?
As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.
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