It started when I was a little girl. I had an older brother who was a huge brain, doing “Odyssey of the Mind” (an innovative, engineer-like problem solving competition) in elementary school, and a sister who was such a prodigy artist that she was beating middle schoolers in art contests as a kindergartener! And then there was me, the third/youngest child. I saw my older siblings so talented from such a young age, and I just had not come out of the womb solving IT problems or with calligraphy handwriting like I’m convinced they did. So what was my role? What was my niche? If it was not one specific thing, why not try EVERYTHING?! So I did!
Soccer, tennis, basketball, track, volleyball, cross country, acting, dance, art (ha!), Girl Scouts, church camp, German, Spanish, mathletes (seriously), volunteer, piano, musicals, choir, band, drum major, drumline, leadership retreats, car obsessor (I knew almost every single make/model in the past decade), corn roguing, corn detasseling, babysitter, waitress, and seller of car washes – ALL BEFORE I WAS 18 YEARS OLD!!!
For any of you who met me in my 20s, maybe now you understand why I have stayed super busy! It was my normal since I was a young kid. I loved it. My parents were so phenomenal and supportive, and let me try literally everything to see what I was passionate about. One really amazing thing about having this journey is that I truly believe (thanks to my parents, and to my experiences) that I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to. What a gift. I would definitely consider myself what Jordan Lee Dooley coins as “multi-passionate.”
Where does the “pursuit of perfection” part come in? Right here. I want to be exceptional at anything and everything I do. I am okay with the growing pains as I learn, but ultimately, I want to be able to go “all-in” on it. This could be with my hobbies, my job, my relationships, etc. But once adulthood kicks in, and your list of high priorities and responsibilities gets longer, it becomes much harder to go “all-in” on many other things. Bills have to get paid. You want to, and need to spend quality time with your closest relationships. Student loans and retirement need to be managed. You need to plan for the future. You start to realize that those you love won’t be around forever. Life happens, all of the good and the hard things along with it.
I realized that I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to, but I cannot do EVERYTHING I want to, if the goal is to be exceptional. Read that again. And let’s add an addendum: pursuing being exceptional at something is not the same as being PERFECT at something. There’s an element of pursuing things in life intentionally, with the goal of being exceptional, that perfection is missing: grace. Being graceful with yourself and others as you go through seasons of life. Living intentionally with goals and grace does not leave room for the one thing you are guaranteed with the pursuit of perfection – falling short.
Mic drop. Yes, I just mic-dropped myself, ha! I could unpack that last paragraph with tons of examples and re-wording everything I said to re-emphasize the message, but I encourage you to simply re-read that last paragraph. Once I realized these very important life lessons, I have chosen to be more focused on what my HIGHEST priorities are. And remind myself of them daily (I write them down every morning in my Start Today Journal), so that I live out each day in reflection of what these priorities are. Do I do it “perfectly”? Definitely not. But that is because I am no longer pursuing perfection. I am intentional, while giving myself a lot of grace in the process in case things do not go as planned, or happen on a different timeline than I had originally hoped/expected. The perfectionist in me sneaks in sometimes, but I just remind her that I like this way of living much more :).
I hope this message spoke to you in some, or many ways! Drop a comment below if you can relate, or if you have had a journey like this one! Love you, friends. Thank you for spending this time with me.
XoXo Lindsey Sholtis