The other day I was on a video call with a client, and I asked her why she chose to work with me as oppose to another coach.
She thought for a minute and then said, “Well, I think it’s because you don’t seem that polished.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, her eyes got wide and she started backpedaling—“No, no! I didn’t mean it THAT way.”
But it was too late, and I was already laughing my head off. I loved it that she decided to fork over her hard-earned cash to someone who didn’t seem to have it all together.
Granted, I’m not as slick and “polished” as some of the other coaches out there, but I like to think that’s one of my advantages.
I’m constantly editing my own life, just like how my clients are making big changes. I’m moving through my own transition, and sometimes that’s not always wrapped up in a pretty bow. And I prefer working with women who are willing to embrace the uncomfortable bits of life.
It hasn’t always been easy for me to allow my true self to shine. But my career and business have improved by leaps and bounds now that I’ve ditched my perfectionism.
Are you caught up in how you’re perceived at your job or in your business?
Do you sometimes catch yourself censoring parts of your personality?
Here’s how you can let go of perfection to get ahead in your career.
A Editor’s Work is Never Done
I’m a life editor, and you’re a life editor. And just like editors in the publishing world, our work is never done.
You can keep on tweaking aspects of your life to get everything “just right,” but when you think you’re finished, you’ll almost always find something else that can be improved.
The Life Editing Process is a never-ending loop for this same reason. Our lives our constantly changing as we move, switch jobs, get married, start a family, etc. We have to regularly edit our lives to make sure we’re still living our true values and pursuing meaningful goals.
What parts of your career could use some editing?
Are you becoming stagnant by staying at the same level for years and years?
Are you missing out on opportunities because you haven’t embraced a new and improved way of doing your work?
As you know, I recently rebranded my entire website and business. I initially thought about making the change nearly 6 months prior, but I resisted getting out of my comfort zone.
When I finally took the plunge, my client load massively increased and I started attracting more of my ideal followers (Type A personalities who like systematic processes and taking action).
No, My Apartment’s Not On Fire
Last week I was deep into a discussion with a client about how she could turn her business around and get the paying clients she needs to support herself and her business.
I’m sure I just about to say something really profound and magical when we heard it: an ear-piercing beeeeeeep! And then another. And another.
They were testing the fire alarms in my apartment building right smack in the middle of a client call. But what could we do? We soldiered on (talking more loudly) and actually had a super productive call.
And every single client of mine will sooner or later hear a peculiar rar-rar-rar-rar-rar in the background during a call. It’s just my pit bull Skyla gnawing through one of her many chew toys.
Her behavior is completely Pavlovian—as soon as she hears the familiar ringing sound of Skype or Google Hangouts, she’ll grab her toy and park herself right next to my desk.
Yep, we’re real professional around these parts.
How do you handle problems that pop up in your career?
What would you do if you lost your PowerPoint presentation 5 minutes before a big meeting? Would you have a breakdown…or would you embrace imperfection and do your best anyway?
Being a Leader, Not an Idol
The key to being effective in any line of work is to strive to be a leader, not an idol.
A leader shows people the way, mistakes and all. A leader isn’t afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “I’m sorry.” She knows that she helps herself by helping others succeed.
An idol is perfect and untouchable. A idol hides her flaws behind an impenetrable wall. She maintains her power by not sharing her humanity and by diminishing the work of others.
I want you to be a leader in your life and career. If you’re authentically “you” all the time as a leader, people respect you more. If you make a mistake as an untouchable idol, people will wonder what else you’re hiding from them.
One of my clients sent me a summary of her weekly to-dos and said she’s going to be “un-perfect” as she does her work instead of being paralyzed by perfectionism. Love it!
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Step 5 of the Life Editing Process is Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. And one of the best ways to care for yourself is to be kind to yourself when things don’t go your way.
Your assignment is to let go of perfection in some way this week. How can you do a less-than-perfect job? How can you show your vulnerability?
How do you embrace imperfection in your work and life?
In the comments below, share your favorite way to be imperfect.
This post focuses on Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.