Excellence is doing it for you, perfection is doing it for everyone else

By Reshma Saujani

The difference between excellence and perfection is like the difference between love and obsession, one is liberating, the other is unhealthy.

When you chose to excellence, you’re enjoying the journey. Perfectionism is about being obsessed with the destination point. What do I mean by that? Well, a perfect example is a friend of mine who was trying out for the Olympics Trials.

She was a diver and it was her last shot to go to the Olympics. She’s been practicing her entire life for this moment. She’s done this dive a million times.

She goes up takes her dive, she bombs. She sitting there bobbing in the pool and it’s over for her.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend is standing on the pool ledge, tapping his feet, and saying “come on, let’s go.” She looked at him and said, “give me a minute.”

She got out of the pool, climbs up to the diving board, and takes a breath. She bounces on the board a few times and does the perfect dive. She did that for herself. Her dream was done, but she wanted to know that she could do it for her. That’s excellence.

So next time you’re on your diving board, let go of where you need to be and when and just enjoy getting there.