Sunday, October 28, 2012

Passion versus Perfection

As I’ve gotten older I’ve decided that being a passionate person is far better than being a perfectionist.  

 Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence.  ~Rosalynn Carter

In my working environment perfection matters…and in the industry I work in it is a given that there are no margin for errors.  My job on the other hand is an unusual job within the industry and in the line of work that I do passion matters.   Recently I’ve been confronted with a couple of situations where a work product may have been perfect and the outcome was good, but if the task had been completed with passion the outcome would have been stupendous.  
Thank you U.S. for this beautiful photo of the passion flower - my favorite!

A few years back someone in observing me and my hobbies commented that I was a bit obsessive.  I confess that since my forties, I haven’t just gardened, I started a garden club.  I didn’t just take a ballet class, I took ballet 3 days a week, helped with a pre-school ballet class and performed in 2 recitals (odd for a woman in her 40s I know but it was fun)!  Oh there are lots more examples of my passions but In 2003 I was very lucky when our managing partner asked me to take a role with our firm leading volunteerism. Volunteering is something that I’ve always been passionate about and I’m often one of those people that just can’t watch the news and hear of catastrophic disasters without organizing a drive or an effort to support those affected.   In raising my family I made sure each of my children served as a volunteer in some way.  I’m recalling the time my daughter was excited to help with a Habitat build until she got there and realized that we were on the insulation team and it was 96 degrees that day.   All I can say is that my passion for helping others and really making a difference in my community, locally and beyond must have been obvious in the workplace as I was singled out to take on an incredible role which has changed my life in so many ways. 

As the person who organizes volunteer efforts I can tell you that passion makes a difference.  Recently we had one person passionately wanting to assist victims of human trafficking and I was able to connect him with several very meaningful opportunities. Over the course of a year he represented several clients who’d been through some horrific experiences.  This person assisted each client with an intense passion and through these experiences has since moved into an international position because of his passion for assisting victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. 

One of our volunteers loves children, even going so far as to go back to school to get a degree in early childhood education.  She serves in a number of volunteer roles working with children and last summer ultimately performed one of the most selfless acts I’ve heard of in years by actually crossing the U.S. Mexico border in an area known for conflict in an effort to help some children in distress. She ultimately won a national award for her extraordinary efforts.

As a passionate person, I’m inspired by other passionate people.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  It isn’t that perfectionist aren’t passionate people but I’ve observed that when a person pursues an issue with a passion, perfection will follow.  Passion brings with it energy, creativity, problem-tunities and often some amazing results.

As I age I’m prepared to begin to sag, droop, and potentially lose things but the one thing that I hope I can hold on to is my passion.


  1. I LOVE this post. It is inspiring and so true. I tend to become passionate about something and then overcome by my perfectionism tendencies and then I start losing the passion. I am sure I will come back to this post often - I've pinned it for future reference. Also, I love flowers and tulips are one of my favorites.

  2. AMEN! I just loved this post, Cheryl. You and I share a passion for volunteerism (isn't it odd that out of all the penpals, we ended up being matched a few years ago, with no prior knowledge of our professional link?) I see passion every day in my work - and I see people who are burnt out. I think that this happens when someone lets go of the passion that brought them in the first place, and gets mired in the everyday horror that is attached to the work. It's my job to help them stay passionate by directing their gifts (and passion!) where they will do the most good and give them the most rewarding experience.
    Hang onto YOUR passion!

  3. Kudos to you Cheryl for both your passion for volunteerism and the thoughtful inspiring words in this post. I admire the work you do. I like your statement that perfectionism follows passion. ~ Sarah

  4. What a wonderful post. Passion is essential. I need to remember that.

  5. What a great thing to start! Good luck on your endeavors! Beautiful flowers!..Christine

  6. I'm willing to bet that you will never lose your passion, no matter your age! How great that you are so involved and that you care so very much...! BRAVA, my dear!

  7. What an uplifting post. I knew though by reading your blog for a while that you are a very passionate and kind lady. Thanks for coming to my blog while I was away.

  8. Just happened to pop by and have been on the end of the "obsessive" comment before as well : ) I agree it's more about being passionate in what really moves or touches your heart.
    Passion offers satisfaction at the end, obsession is a thankless taskmaster.
    Continue to celebrate and give to with full abandon these activities that bring you joy and clearly are a blessing to others. Enjoyed your post.