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The Problem with Perfect

We seem to be having a lot of conversations these days with folks who are focused on the idea that they need to be perfect.

The whole idea of being perfect is tied up in the idea that you need to deliver flawless results, at super-human levels to feel secure and worthwhile as a person. Can you feel the weightiness of that idea? Doesn’t that sound exhausting!

Brené Brown, who we are constantly inspired by, is a writer and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. In her work she highlights the difference between perfectionism and healthy behavior. She notes, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth.” Rather, she says perfectionism is used by many people as a shield to protect against the pain of judgment, shame or blame.

We found ourselves caught up in the web of perfection when we were preparing to record our audio book. It was a new experience for both of us – we felt a bit out of our comfort zone. We were investing a lot of time, money and effort into this endeavor and we really wanted the outcome to be, well, perfect. We were so focused on the results we were trying to achieve that we lost the sight of the outcome we were hoping to create. Thank goodness we were being guided by a skilled producer who told us “You don’t need to be perfect; you need to get it right.” That direction helped us to take a breath, pause, and consider what “right” meant for us. We are on a mission to bring more humanity to the world of work. So “right” is sharing our real voice and getting our message out into the world so it is accessible and useful to everyone. How we do it might not be perfect in the eyes of some, and we are okay with that. (Phew – big sigh of relief)

As perfectly imperfect humans we are all striving to be the best version of ourselves. Just as our producer invited us to just get it right, we invite you to do the same. Let go of trying to be perfect, and step into being the best version of yourself.