Every once in a while you have the good fortune to be in a room when the speaker says something so profound that you have to write it down. I always take that as a sign that I should not only write it down, but explore it further.
The process of writing then becomes a journey of discovery. Quite often that exploration leads to new insights.
“I am run by the need to control and to be perfect,” is what she said.
There is some of that attitude in all of us. We all know what control means. It implies a certain rigidity and unwillingness to allow for an expansion of what might be. We want it our way, whether it’s something that we are involved in, or our interaction with another person. Even though we have heard over and over again we can’t control another person, we keep trying.
The need to be perfect and to control implies a lack of trust in what might be. When we have a preconceived notion as to the perfect outcome, we limit the natural unfolding of what’s possible. We don’t allow for the possibility that the circumstances and our notion of perfection might change. We don’t allow for the possibility that perfection is an evolving dynamic state of being.
For many years my life was structured with raising a family and having a law career. In a professional setting we can see the need to be perfect as compliance with certain rules, regulations and deadlines. When I was an attorney, if we didn’t file a document timely, we wouldn’t get the opportunity to discuss the merits of our position. Being timely and getting the project done was just the price of admission.
We also have to be mindful that there is an external standard that defines excellence and perfection. But even in that context there is a great amount of subjectivity as to what is a perfect result. We are reminded of this truth by some of the phrases that are used in everyday conversations.
“You played that perfectly.” “That worked to perfection.“
Once you have paid the price of admission and are in the arena, you get to bring the real you to the party. You can be effective in a way that feels authentic and still be successful in your career. In my own way I was able to make my career a form of self-expression and a way to more fully express who I was.
For various reasons, not all of us choose to play in the arena. My friend, who I will refer to Carl in this article, was like that. For him getting it done wasn’t a priority.
He is a music prodigy. He can play six or seven instruments as well as anyone can play just one. For the last ten years he has been working on a recording project. But he is reluctant to let it go and share it with others. For Carl nothing is good enough.
Life, like art, is a process and journey of discovery. By the time I wrote my book, Dancing on the River, I had much practice in letting go and trusting the process of creation. By that time I had written several newsletters and shared them with many others. I kept working them before releasing them to the universe. I always wondered if they were good enough. It was only by sharing them with others and allowing room for feedback that I developed the confidence that I had something of significance to contribute.
At some point you have to let go of control and the need to be perfect and trust the feedback from the universe and from others.
Rather then thinking about the need to be perfect, think about perfection in a more enlightened way. Perfection is not an absolute standard that you are striving to get to, but a dynamic evolving state that has its share of peaks and valleys. In that process the path of perfection becomes your greatest teacher. You learn to enjoy each step on the way even when you are not sure where it is taking you.
What we find on this journey of discovery is that life has many more complexities than we envisioned. We can’t control every possibility and there are always going to be a few loose ends. Our challenge is to live in this uncertainty. Finally we get to that place when we say to ourself, “It’s ready, I’m ready.” We let go and move on to the next phase. There always will be that next phase.
For me that next phase is the work that I am doing now which is an intuitive and creative process. Along the way we discover what life has in store for us. Sometimes life knocks us to our knees, but we get up and face another day stronger for the experience.
Each day becomes an ongoing adventure. We learn to embrace the unfolding of this adventure as the perfection of the universe.
Please join me for the Journey On radio show. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyon. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator.
Enjoy the Journey,
Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.