I think perfectionism gets a bad rap. Every where you turn you are told to stop being so hard on yourself and light up, but I have begun to question that line of thinking. Ok, I get it, you shouldn’t allow yourself to get caught up in a shame spiral, but what if in an effort to avoid self-destruction we are actually selling ourselves short?
For most of my life I have struggled to perfect my singing technique. In fact, it’s probably the reason I’m sitting here writing this blog instead of standing on a beautiful stage somewhere singing La Traviata. It is also the reason I still sing. I never lost the desire to perfect my technique. I still think about how forward or back my sound is. How much vertical space to give a tone. How much pressure to use. I concentrate on loosening my jaw and eliminating tongue tension. And you know what? Now my singing is actually halfway decent!!
Is it perfect? No. Do I still crash and burn sometimes? Yes. Are there better singers than I? Many! However, what I do have is a high level of mastery and it was the drive for mastery that kept me going even when things were hard. I was aware there was more potential inside me waiting and wanting to be developed. I knew there must be a perfect way to spin a high note.
Many times it would have been much easier to throw in the towel, but with the likes of Joan Sutherland buzzing in my ear, it was clear transcendence was possible. I would either have to accept my limitations or force their evolution. I choose the latter. It was difficult, often painful and certainly took longer than I would have liked, but totally worth it. Now I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Where would I be if I hadn’t pushed and continued to strive, if I had listened to “good enough?” I would be filled with regret knowing I had not lived up to my own standards and fulfilled my potential. Can you relate? Do you feel unsettled knowing there is more in you waiting to be manifested? You’ve done well, but you want excellence? Then you may be a perfectionist.
Some people say trying for perfection is a form of self-torture. I suppose taken too far it can be. However, there is a deep satisfaction striving for an ideal whether that ideal is the perfect high note or the perfect product. Even if the outcome falls short, the pursuit of an ideal yields superior results. Some people believe ultimate perfection does not exist. Those people have clearly never heard Pavarotti sing Puccini!
If you are compelled to perfect your craft, do not be deterred. You CAN achieve mastery. If you miss your mark, at least you can be perfectly happy knowing you gave it your all.
I love to hear your voice!
What is your opinion? Do you think perfection exists? What does it look like for you?
Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.