The Problem With Perfection
What a funny word, GEMO (/GEE-Moh/). It sounds like a cartoon character. Actually, it's an acronym I've learned to embrace over the years: "Good Enough, Move On." It's easy to let perfection become a higher priority than getting something completed. Complex brains easily allow perfection to move into obsession. When that brain is under stress, the challenge is multiplied. It can be critical to set realistic boundaries for when something is "good enough."
Some people are comfortable when things don't go as planned, while others want to control everything. The gift lies somewhere in the middle, recognizing when things are good enough. Diane and I talk a lot about recovering from perfectionism. The most important key to success is the practice of learning to let go of perfection – frankly, in every aspect of life.
Good Enough Move On In Practice
So what does "good enough" look like? How do you encourage yourself and your kids to do their best but not to stress themselves out by going overboard?
- Tackle the critical stuff first by starting with your top priority.
- Observe - when you notice that you are getting to the point of managing the "finer details," figure out how much additional time you want to spend. Then set a timer. Check back if you are tempted to continue and ensure the extra time is worth the added value.
- Help with others - when your child insists that they must spend two more hours, or spend another hour after bedtime on that model they're building, help them see when the work is actually good enough.
- Make sure you are clear about why you are doing it. If it is your priority, honor yourself by acknowledging that. If you are doing it to please someone else, recognize that as well.
- If you are getting tired, ask yourself if it's time to call GEMO – and do it with pride!