It’s funny how we think we need to be an expert at everything we do in our lives – that if we’re not absolutely perfect at everything we do, then we have somehow failed ourselves. I am not sure who to hold responsible for this insidious notion but this idea alone has kept many of us from showing up in our own lives, waiting for the illusionary perfect time, perfect weight, perfect skills before being and doing what we want. I recently was in a Pilates class and the instructor said something that made me smile, she said I do not expect you to be perfect, I expect you to be here and improving. I am not sure who told us that we have to work at expert level in our lives, life is meant to be a series of learning moments that we move up a level and learn something else even Tony Hawks had to wipe out multiple times before he became the legend that he is.
How many times have you said you were going to try something new before your gremlins piped up and reminded you that you will look foolish that you didn’t know the steps to be good enough to take the salsa class? Is that just me, I know there is more of us out there that take ourselves out of the running before the game even starts… Okay let’s get it out there, yes you will look foolish, you may crush a few toes and look like a baby hippo trying to pirouette and so flaming what! No one ever died of embarrassment last time I checked.
You are not meant to be at expert level and no one except you are expecting you to be perfect, so cut yourself some slack and show up because that is the only way to go from a newbie to Tony Hawk. Apply for that new role that stretches your abilities and forces you to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities that you will fail fast in and learn how not to do it and move forward. Dare yourself this summer to become a newbie again, go to that class be it Pilates or the French class be willing to fail, you may discover something really awesome about you.
The problem with perfection is that it an insidious little monster, it masquerades like it is your friend asking for the best of the best from you but what it is really doing is getting in the way of you showing up. People, have you ever done something, created something but never shared it with anyone? Because you feel it is not your best offering it has to be perfect, you have to be perfect before you do X, Y, and Z. Before you know it your sweet perfection friend has taken over and keeps you spinning your wheels waiting for that perfect time to do and try something new. Heck, it might not even be doing something new, it may be something as simple as telling someone in your life, what you think or feel. However, you are waiting for that one perfect moment and the situation continues to fester till it blows up like a small volcano.
It is time to know that, no one expects you to be perfect, what is expected is that you show up and learn and participate, life is waiting for you to show up and play. Experience a few wipe outs and get moving again, just remember whenever your perfection monster starts squealing, just remind it that your perfection is not required.
First published July 3, 2016