Last week I baked a birthday cake from scratch that was perfectly delicious, but definitely not perfect. It was an old-fashioned 2-layer chocolate cake with a butter cream icing that my guests literally swooned over. The imperfect part is that it was a tad lopsided, and the frosting wasnt swirled to geometric perfection. Thankfully, I gave myself permission to enjoy the delicious and let go of the need for it to be perfect. (I admit: I momentarily debated dashing out to the bakery to get a store-bought masterpiece, but resisted. It was a good decision.)
All of my guests requested a small piece to go. I happily wrapped up several slices. One guest accidentally left without hers. She was several miles down the road when I called her cell phone to let her know she had forgotten her cake. She turned around and drove back to get it. (Its really that good!)
Realizing that an imperfect cake could be perfectly delicious (as well as gratefully appreciated, raved about, and subsequently devoured) was a paradoxical epiphany. For much of my life Ive been on a quest for perfection. Growing up, my goal was a straight A report card, or a perfect one-foot landing of an axel in figure skating. In my retail career I worked hard every season to create the perfect fashion assortment. I wanted to be the perfect boss, the perfect daughter, the perfect wife.
Theres nothing wrong with STRIVING for perfection. The drive for perfection is a necessary ingredient of success. But expecting that everything can be perfect all the time isnt healthy. Judging yourself (or others) too harshly when we fall short of perfect can be a real life spoiler.
In The Artists Way, Julia Cameron writes: Perfectionism is NOT a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we ever do will ever be good enoughthat we should try again.
Of course we must try again, and again. But if we want to be fulfilled and truly enjoy life, we must find some satisfaction in realizing that being happy doesnt necessarily mean that everything is perfect. It just means youve decided to see beyond the imperfections.
I think thats the best way to savor every bite of life.
Robyn Waters is president and founder
of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of
The Trendmasters Guide: Get a
Jump on What Your Customer Wants
Next, and The Hummer
and the Mini: Navigating the
Contradictions of the New Trend
Landscape. Learn more about
Robyn at www.rwtrend.com. All Rights