This week I had a very interesting discussion with a couple of very different people (who don't know each other) about perfection.
First, though, let me tell you something about me. I am a classic over-achiever.
Shocking, I'm sure.
I made straight A's in high school and graduated from undergrad with a 3.92. I was the kid who would be upset with a 95 instead of a 100. Seriously. I remember a few times arguing with a teacher over those points that kept me from an A+. The hardest part about this, was that I was (and still am) aware enough to realize how geeky that was, yet I still couldn't help myself.
As an adult, I see this classic trait in many areas of my life. In general, I don't think being an overachiever is necessarily a bad thing, but when the striving for perfection is coupled with a heavy dose of self-induced guilt, the only thing that follows is a perfect mess.
Let's take my nutrition, as an example. I have been trying to lose a bit of my winter layer for the upcoming season. I know exactly what I need to do, but in an effort to be "perfect" I tend to sabotage myself. When I have "messed up", I toss the whole day out as ruined. I ignore the fact that, most likely, I have eaten 90-95% clean, and focus entirely on the 5-10% "bad." If I can't have 100%, I would rather have nothing, in most cases it seems. Instead of enjoying a treat or a guilty pleasure, I rail myself about it and usually end up eating more bad stuff because the day has already been "ruined." Now I completely realize this doesn't make ANY sense, and that is exactly what is so frustrating about the whole thing.
I sent Coach Mary an email the other day and mentioned that I had been inspired by one of her recent team emails where she shared with us about her own training trials and triumphs. I told her that sometimes I think I might just not "want it badly enough." If I did, why can't I just buckle down and get the job done?
She wrote back with this reply: