Is perfect worth it?
In her famous TED talk, Brene Brown talks of the importance of being vulnerable, as a key ingredient to living well. It struck a chord (over 50 million views) and launched her into fame. Perhaps people took a collective deep sigh when she created this permission to be vulnerable, to be imperfect, to be real.
Over the course of my years coaching and training business people, I’ve found that conscientious people can have a tendency to strive for perfection. Yet far from driving success, this mentality can prevent it. Seeking perfection can put an enormous and unnecessary strain on a person. This strain can compromise well-being and can lead to ineffectiveness.
“Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because perfection doesn’t exist. It’s an unattainable goal.”Brene Brown
Equally, in aiming for perfection, you can hold back opinions or ideas and avoid taking initiative for fear of being ‘wrong’. Self-doubt and ‘am I good enough’ can kick in. In discussions, you may self-censor your valuable knowledge, experience and creativity because you worry that you haven’t got ‘the right answer’. Right according to whom, anyway?
Instead, recognise the beautiful truth that life isn’t perfect – nor are people. In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centred on the acceptance and appreciation of imperfection.
Things are often ambiguous. Struggle and mistakes are all part of the process of growth, development and achievement. People have different views. And that is ok. We are still whole. It is all valid. If we embrace imperfection, we (and our organisations) benefit from the real us – and we stop limiting ourselves. Pressure dissolves. We are free to express ourselves more naturally and let our individual qualities shine and be seen. And we may find ourselves being more bold, creative and innovative.