Stop Glorifying “Perfect”

Oh, man. When I pulled today’s quote, I knew I would have a lot to write about, so let’s begin.

Today’s quote is:

Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.

Ann McGee-Cooper

Wowee! This is such an important quote for all of us to remember.

Let me start with this story from my full-time teaching days that happened many years ago. A student in my public relations class earned a ‘B’ in class. She was very upset with the notion of earning a ‘B.’ When she came to me asking if she could have an ‘A’ instead—because she’d never earned a ‘B’ before—I told her that’s not the way things work. “But you’re the first ‘B’ I’ve ever gotten,” she said. “Good for you,” I said. “Builds character.”

I didn’t say that to be cheeky or sarcastic. I said it because it’s true. It also reminded me of what a friend said to me—”When did ‘B’s’ become bad?”

The truth was, in that particular class, she was a ‘B’ student. She missed a lot of classes. Some of her work was turned in late. It wasn’t ‘A’ work. Thus, the ‘B.’

In the first class of my MFA program, I earned an ‘A-‘ instead of an ‘A’ because I messed up MLA style. I was used to APA Style and AP Style, and I got some citations wrong. It was my fault. I wasn’t as thorough as I should have been. I deserved the deduction. It’s okay. But I also gave myself some grace to NOT be perfect. I was teaching a full load, raising two young children, going to graduate school full time, and trying to give attention to my husband. “Uncle.”

Even last week, when I finished the FIRST DRAFT of my new manuscript for novel number nine, I had to give myself grace. It isn’t perfect. Indeed, it’s far from it, but it’s the progress that I’m making toward it that matters. I have countless hours of work ahead of me to get that novel where I want it. But I wanted to stop and celebrate the progress I’m making toward completing it.

You all need to do the same, too. Whether it’s weight loss, exercise, taking courses or gaining certifications, raising your children, earning a degree, starting a business, or any other endeavors you are striving toward, I suggest stopping, pausing, and celebrating how far you’ve come.

In our attempts to be perfect we are missing a lot of the little joys that come along with the exercise of “going for it.” Some of the best stuff happens along the way.

Celebrate your progress people…and stop glorifying being perfect or making something that’s perfect.


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