P is for Perfection, Peas and a Plug



Since childhood I have always strived for perfection. I played the electronic organ and was quite the little prodigy but I wouldn’t perform in public unless I knew the piece was perfect. And boy did the tear works erupt if I hit a bum note. It is only recently that I’ve come to terms with the fact that perfectionism hinders progress, even though my guardian angel has been trying to teach me this invaluable lesson for years. One attempt stands out in my mind.

During my second year of catering college, back when I was 17, I took part in a silver service waiting competition. As ever, I was fully prepared: my dummy waiter was equipped and neatly set out, my table for four was laid to perfection and I had every single movement of service clearly planned in my head. The customers arrived and the starters went well. I served the wine and then began serving the main course. I mentally checked off each step.

I balanced the meat platter across my left arm and served each customer; spooning the perfect amount of jus over each portion of meat which was placed at the 6 o’clock position on the plate. The Dauphinoise potatoes dished up without problem. Everything was going well. Just the vegetables to go.  

I picked up the terrine of freshly podded petit pois, balanced it across my left hand and headed towards my awaiting guests with a smile.

On route, my guardian angel decided to play a prank. He knocked the terrine out of my hand. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. One moment it was secure, the next it was flying through the air. The little green critters took pride in their rollerball shape and ran all over the carpet in different directions. I stood for a moment in shock. Luckily, the curse word stayed in the back of my throat.  The ‘aahs’ from onlookers snapped me back to attention. I grabbed a spare linen napkin from my dummy waiter, and tried at lightning speed to gather as many pesky peas as I could into a pile and placed the napkin over the top. I then legged it to the kitchen to grab another terrine and served the peas on the customers’ plates. The rest of the meal went well – not that I cared anymore. I’d messed up my chances. Or had I?

I won!

Lesson learned: it is not necessary to be perfect in order to get results. It’s how you manage the imperfections that counts.

Are you a perfectionist? Have you suffered any mishaps in trying to be so?

PLUG!

Blogging pal, R. Mac Wheeler has a new novel out!

A visceral tightrope of deceit, abuse, and murder.
Aran's a researcher--for a killer. Not a profession of her choice. With her keeper's death and the end of her servitude she may never have to plan another assassination, but she will kill to survive. Those who contracted her mentor's hits will come for her. She knows too many secrets accumulated the past decade analyzing the routine of those tagged for death. 

Available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Congratulations Mac. Wishing you every success.  



Comments

  1. I guess the part with the peas counted for live entertainment!

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  2. Thanks for that plug. You're so sweet! :)

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    1. You're very welcome. I'm looking forward to reading it. Awesome cover!!

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  3. Well, you certainly got their attention! It is hard to shake perfection. I've always been a perfectionist and it really gets me when I'm performing and mess up a note. Doesn't matter how well everything else goes - I remember that one stupid note.

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    1. Why do we do that? If you ever find the solution, please let me know. We always remember that one bum note, instead of relishing in all the other great notes.

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  4. Strive for excellence, not perfection is something i've had to learn over and over. When you strive for excellence, you can become effective and be able to overcome such incidents as you describe.

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    1. That's a great piece of advice. Thanks for sharing. I'll keep that in mind.

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  5. I am not a perfectionist and I think it's helped me. I've known so many authors who never got anywhere because they kept revising the same book, year after year. I think as long as you can let go at some point, it's all good!

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    1. Been there done that. Still doing but at least I've got an editor who will help me to finally get my novel complete and ready for the readers.

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  6. impressive write ,i was never fond of being perfectionist ,though when its about life i want everything simple and straight without any complication but never set high standards to achieve just simply steadily crawling towards my aims

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    1. Every step towards one's aims is a positive one :)

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  7. What a "perfect" way to learn how to accept those imperfections and move on. I loved reading your story. I'd never even heard of a tea service competition, so I learned something new today!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. Glad you enjoyed reading my words :)

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  8. I have spent years battling the perfection bug. Then every now and then, I look at the chaos my attempt at relaxation can cause and the beast returns full force.
    I was a catering waitress in college, but only when the regulars called off. I was horrible. And until today, I didn't know there were rules on serving. No wonder I never made it off the emergency call list.

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    1. I may have won that competition because of an intervention but Elizabeth, I was the grumpiest paid waitress ever! I only did it for a few months and then worked in an office. Was grumpy at that too :) Took ages to find my calling. Then I wasn't such a grump.

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  9. So glad you are sharing that experience with us. Love how you wrote it. And such a beautiful lesson. Feeling grateful! 👍

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  10. "It is not necessary to be perfect in order to get results. It’s how you manage the imperfections that counts."
    Wow! That's a great quote. Is it from your brain or did you find it somewhere else?

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    1. It came from my morning, fully caffeinated brain :) It sometimes works :)

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  11. Grace under pressure is the most rare commodity out there. Bravo for you at the tea service competition. :-) Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my posts. It means a lot.

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  12. I struggle with trying to be perfect when I perform, too. It's a lot of pressure!

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  13. I suffer from perfectionism all the time. It's funny how a thing like "perfect" can be such a problem.

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  14. I think how we recover from stuff when things don't go as perfectly as we'd planned is really what's important.

    I'm glad to hear you won!

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  15. Nooooo - I'm not a perfectionist. That's not to say I don't want to get things right, but I'm usually happy to accept 'good enough'.

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  16. Oh gosh, nope...not a perfectionist. i am more of the "Good enough" style. I love creating my cards and will do my very best but I am often a bit crooked. I consider that now part of my style. Good for you that you won but you remind me of a Christmas commercial that was on a few years ago. the lady had everything beautifully decorated, she was checking off that she had everything on the table, everything was great in the kitchen, the tree was perfect and she heard the doorbell ring. as she walked to answer the door you see from the back that she tucked in her skirt into her pantyhose-hahahaaaa

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