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What my daughter’s cartwheels can teach
us about perfectionism
HOW TO STOP THE SEARCH FOR PERFECTION FROM YOU MOVING FORWARD
My six-year-old had been trying for a few months to do a cartwheel and was feeling frustrated at her lack of progress.
Yesterday she showed me her latest try and I have to say it was a significant improvement. She was so proud of herself. And rightly so.
After the celebratory ‘high fives’ Phoebe said something that stopped me in my tracks.
She told me that her cartwheel doesn’t have to be perfect. She just has to straighten her legs and keep practicing until it gets better.
“It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be a bit better than it was before.” Phoebe, aged 6
When did my baby get so wise?
It’s a lesson that we all need to remember. Me especially. It’s ironic really, because it’s what I frequently tell my clients about impact measurement.
I’ve had so many conversations with clients who, when starting to measure their difference, want to go all-in. They want to track the long-term impact on the people that they help, measure the outcomes achieved for family members, and the savings to society as a whole.
These are all good things to measure. But for a charity or social enterprise with limited capacity it may not be practical.
Keep it proportionate to your resources.
Don’t let the search for perfection get in the way of progression.
I’m not sure if I said that first, or maybe it came from Geri Body Yoga. Either way, it is advice we all need to remember.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. But now I’m going to take Phoebe’s advice (and my own) and stop trying to make it perfect.
So over to you, what are you trying to do perfectly that could make all the difference if you just did it a bit better?
FOUNDER & LEAD CONSULTANT
Emma has first-hand experience of the thrills and terrors of charity leadership. Dedicated to the non-profit sector for 21 years, Emma has both depth and breadth of experience as a CEO, Consultant, Trustee and Chair, Fundraiser and Grants Assessor.
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