Perfectly Imperfect
I am a perfectionist! There I said it. Truth be told, I’m a recovering perfectionist. I say that because I’ve been working at recovery for years.

Perfectionism can support what I’m working on, and it can get in the way, big time. I take great pride in creating processes, both personally and in business, that streamline what needs to get done. I think it through and engineer processes that foster workability. In my business, I use a time-blocked calendar, business plan and a weekly focused activity plan to keep me appropriate in the moment, which is paying attention to the important things.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found myself in situations where my perfectionism got in the way. By way of example let me explain. In June of 2022 I was making a short presenting to a group of my peers and an esteemed leader, the designer of the work I was exhibiting. In my endeavor to present perfectly I choked, losing track of where I was and disengaging from the audience. It was not terrible, just not my best.

As I self-evaluated where I went off the rails, I determined my perfectionism was more about looking good than being perfect. Since that fateful presentation, I have looked back at many interactions with others, where I did not do my best, and found in each case a looking good conversation got in my way. As a coach dedicated to helping clients achieve optimal outcomes, both personally and professionally, I witness how perfectionism gets in their way too.

I’ve had a breakthrough around perfectionism. It took some deep personal work to get there, along with the support of many friends. Here’s what I distinguished. First, I learned that the pursuit of perfection, especially when interacting with others, was not about being perfect and instead about looking good. Next, I asked myself, “what’s the point of looking good?” There isn’t one. Currently, as a student in a course on resiliency, I learned that I could rely on my heart to guide me. To listen from my heart. To speak from my heart. To make choices after a heartfelt moment of clarity.

In the resilience course we learned several techniques, one of them being heart focused breathing. While doing heart focused breathing the subject (me) enters a light meditative state. It only takes seconds to get there. From that serene, looking inward place, I was able to see there is no need to compare, or to look good. There was only to be. To be me. Just the way I am and just the way I’m not. I call that state perfectly imperfect.

The resilience course instructor mentioned the Japanese art of Kintsugi and how the work I was doing sounded a lot like Kintsugi for the soul. Kintsugi is where the artist repairs a broken piece of pottery using lacquer and a precious metal like gold, silver, or platinum. The result is a new piece pottery that is one of a kind. What was once invaluable after a break, becomes a unique piece like none other. This reminded me of me and the human condition. We are sometimes broken. We sometimes strive to master perfection never reaching it. Yet we can always repair ourselves. We are never really broken, but it sure can feel that way. Our brains do not know the difference between the real life cause of a bad feeling and the feeling perceived just by thought alone. So, to the brain if you are feeling broken then you are.

Here’s what I learned. Access my heart’s higher state and then through self-Love and compassionate self-forgiveness, I can create myself as a Kintsugi pottery. That is one of a kind. Perfectly imperfect.

I’d be glad share the heart focused breathing and other techniques in a private conversation if you’re interested.

An acknowledgement: I express deep gratitude for the numerous teachers who have been a part of my life's journey. From the educators I actively engaged with to those who silently imparted invaluable lessons, I am truly indebted to all of you for shaping the course of my life. Your impact is immeasurable, and I owe a significant portion of my life's journey to each one of you.


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