New Directions

By Jim Ward

New Directions
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Excellence vs. Perfection

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Have you ever thought about the difference between excellence and perfection? When I think about it, I always recall the saying “don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.” When it comes to career management and development, we often hold ourselves back by focusing too much on perfection. Ambitious¬†and competitive people strive for perfection. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, it is better to strive for excellence than perfection. For 15 years, I worked at PIMCO. One of the core principles at PIMCO was to maintain the highest standards of excellence, in all aspects of their business, from people to investments. I believe there is a significant difference between excellence and perfection! Striving for perfection leads to frustration. We can not be prefect! However, we can strive to be excellent. Excellence is willing to be wrong; perfection is always needing to be right. Excellence is accepting and natural. Seeking perfection creates pressure and leads to self-doubt. Keep in mind that managing your career is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to strive for excellence in everything you do. When you have failures on the job, and you will, having the goal of excellence will help you accept failure with the right attitude. Excellence is accepting. ¬†As Aristotle said, “excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Until next time…


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