In the mid 80’s I discovered this poem in my father’s office one day while organizing his many stacks of papers. Deep down this probably drove him crazy. He never complained about it over the several years I worked as his dental assistant, receptionist and office manager. I asked him where he got this poem and he told me that Sherry was one of the speakers at a dental conference he attended in Atlanta, Georgia. Her words had a major impact on my early career and still resonate with me today.

“Perfection vs. Excellence”

Perfection is being right.
Excellence is willing to be wrong.

Perfection is fear.
Excellence is taking a risk.

Perfection is anger and frustration.
Excellence is powerful.

Perfection is control.
Excellence is spontaneous.

Perfection is judgment.
Excellence is accepting.

Perfection is taking.
Excellence is giving.

Perfection is doubt.
Excellence is confidence.

Perfection is pressure.
Excellence is natural.

Perfection is the destination.
Excellence is the journey.

-Sherry Conger

Striving for excellence is certainly more challenging than striving for perfection. Don’t be tempted to demand excellence from others, unless you’re willing to focus on yourself first. Be a catalyst for positive, purposeful change.