Have you ever felt paralyzed at the thought of beginning a new venture because success is not certain?
Do you forgo trying something new because you don’t know how?
Do you have a great idea but you never pursue it because you don’t know the steps to get there?
Disappointingly, I easily answer yes to these questions over and over again. But why?
Recently, a friend shared a TED Talk that she had watched and I felt as though the entire 12 minutes were speaking to me.
The title, “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection” sums up the video and has me thinking about my own life moving forward, especially how I want to raise and inspire my daughter. I never want my little girl to give up on something, or worse, never try something in the first place just because she might not be perfect at it. Nor do I want to pass up opportunities, challenges, even uncertainties simply because I can’t see a path to perfection. That’s no way to live, yet sadly, I think it’s how I have been living for much of my life. Yikes.
Seeking perfection stifles joy and paralyzes true growth. Perfection is constricting and therefore does not allow for one to show her entire hand. We find beauty, humor, character, personality, and success not wrapped in a perfect, pretty little package but instead in flaws, hiccups, challenges, missteps, and failures. Actually having to experience a failure and how to bounce back strengthens us. If we live within the walls of perfection or what we perceive to be perfect, is that even living? Are we truly experiencing all that life has to offer? Just because we might not be perfect or even good at something does not mean we shouldn’t pursue it. Men get this. Just look at the golf course parking lot every Saturday morning.
As a woman who has certainly felt the need to be perfect in every situation I find myself, I’m realizing now that being imperfect and making a mistake (heck, mistakeS) does not make me a bad person. It makes me human. It makes me relatable. Believe it or not, mistakes and imperfections and the lessons we learn from them give us credibility. There’s always room for improvement, enhancement, change, updating, compromise, growth. Everything from social media platforms to home decor to forms of exercise to parenting styles change with the times. They change with others’ needs and desires. The exciting aspect of trying something that we won’t be perfect at is that we will learn so much along the way. We will experience what happens when we add that extra 0 in the code, or when we cook the chicken on too high a heat, or when we take on a new business venture.
My high school cross-country coach would tell our team “Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” So throw out the idea of perfection. Start to view your opportunities with bravery. Pursue something new and scary and unknown. Learn. Experience. Don’t take the challenges and setbacks personally. People always seem to regret the things they never did or tried, not the the mistakes they made.
I don’t know about you, but I was excited after watching the TED talk. There are A LOT of things that I’m not perfect at. And I can’t wait to start experiencing them.