Embracing Your Imperfections to Move Ahead in Your Career (and Life)

If you have any contact with social media, you will have noticed how everyone is striving to be perfect. Suddenly you can’t post a selfie without at least one filter or go out for dinner without showing your curated plate of food. Even your dog has to look perfect.

I see this need for perfection very invasive in the workplace, particularly with the need to conform to corporate standards – the way you look, your hair, your behaviors. Many worry about saying the wrong thing so they don’t speak up for a project or in a meeting, shrinking behind others who do.

Self-comparison, perfectionism, need to please, imposter syndrome – all of these are mental blocks that hold people back from climbing the ladder; heck, they hold one back from being who they are and loving life, in general.

This can be especially difficult for those in leadership positions – any of those mental blocks will make you less effective in your role;  you may come across as either too  directive or authoritative in the need to show who’s the boss. You might , also, be looked at as apathetic or unable to make needed decisions and drive the team if you are worried you won’t be liked or take too much time to do the right thing.

If this sounds like you, then you are blending in, versus standing out which you were meant to do.  What if you just decided to take a step away from all the competition, all that clamoring for likes and hearts? What if you chose merely to be you –  quirks and all, and just embraced who you are? How different would your life be? What if you stepped into your authentic you?

If you’re ready to jump off the hamster wheel, then here are steps for how you can reclaim your life, be more confident, and take more risks in life:

  1. Stop judging

You can decide right now to stop analyzing other people, looking for what’s wrong with their face or their body or their life choices. Refocus your attitude, so you stop seeing a difference not as a flaw but as merely something that makes that person unique.

They say that when we see a negative in someone else, we actually see them in ourselves. We often exhibit negative bias, whee we just see and focus on negatives more than positives.

Just let go of the urge to criticize others, and you’ll notice a flow-on effect on how you see yourself. At the end of each day, write down all of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. See yourself as others do to change you perspective.

  • Accept your imperfection

Wanting to be the best version of you isn’t the same as being a perfectionist. A perfectionist is never happy with who they are, how they look, or how they’re doing – every ‘i’ needs to be dotted and ‘t’ to be crossed. They tend to procrastinate in the need to be perfect, which can have consequences.

Being your best means you work hard, you try, and you don’t give up. But it doesn’t mean you blame yourself when things aren’t perfect, and you don’t take failure personally.

When do you know that something is perfect? Define this to take the pressure off. Also, make a mistake on purpose; as counterintuitive as it sounds, failing on purpose shows that you are human and can correct as needed.

  • Relax and enjoy the process

Perfectionists tend to trip over every little detail and allow imperfections to spoil their lives. They do worry about how they will be perceived by others. When you embrace imperfection as a natural part of life, it frees you up to enjoy the ride.

Obstacles become challenges that make life more enjoyable. You can slow down and notice all the good things there are in your life. Look at how many famous people actually failed before they found success: Walt Disney, J.K. Rowlings, Michaelangelo, to name a few.

  • Adopt imperfection as a way of life

Once you make peace with imperfection, you can be a lot more objective about life. Your perspectives changes, and what once seemed overwhelmingly important suddenly doesn’t matter so much. All experiences become just another aspect of a life lived richly, that build the person you are continually becoming.

A good way to move past this is to ask yourself: what is the worst that will happen if __________ (ex. I mess up in a meeting, I say the wrong thing, I don’t get the promotion, etc.)? This question helps you to see that failure won’t kill you and sparks creative ideas to deal with the consequences – it’s planning in advance. If you look back on your life, you will see that you have overcome many challenges that you had, at the time, didn’t think you could.

Imperfection stops being something to avoid at all costs. Think about it like this: perfection implies stasis, something you achieve and have to tend. It’s fragile and vulnerable. It puts an end to growth. And then what? You don’t want to stop learning and growing and developing, do you? Embracing imperfection means there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow and become a better person.

  • Step into your leadership shoes

If you want to be seen as competent, confident, and a success, you must act those ways. Walk confidently – posture says a lot about a person’s mood, especially if they don’t feel ‘good’ about themselves. Speak up – use assertive communication, meaning you use “I” statements, avoiding language that is harsh or directive. Use self-talk to encourage and empower yourself to perform at your highest level. All leadership begins with the self.


If you struggle with perfectionism, imposter syndrome, or low confidence which hold you back from leading strong and moving ahead in your company or business, then reach out to stop the struggle. We can help and are committed to your success. https://eliteleadershipsuccessinstitute.com

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