Why it is okay not to be perfect right now – or ever

field of flowers

I am a coach and I am dedicated to helping people improve their lives.

If I worked with you, for example, maybe we would focus on one of the following:

  • Helping you find work that is purposeful, meaningful and aligned with you strengths and values;
  • Helping you build and sustain strong and reciprocally positive relationships at home and at work;
  • Improving your leadership capabilities or helping you develop more strategic awareness
  • Improving the way that you manage stress;
  • Building your self confidence and self-esteem;
  • working with how you handle your thoughts and your emotional responses.

Maybe we’d focus on some combination of these things – or perhaps something else entirely.

The point is that for all of us, there are always many, many ways in which we can change for the better.

Right now, for example, I’m working hard on managing my stress levels and restructuring unhelpful patterns of thinking. I am also still trying to get my work life exactly where I want it to be.

The critical point you need to appreciate, though, is that just because there are things you would like to change or improve, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the way you are now.

The fact that you have sufficient self-awareness to know that you need to make some improvements in your life is a positive advantage, not a reason to feel that somehow you are currently inadequate or lacking in some way.

Yet, unfortunately, that can often be how we feel.

I can tell you, in the past I have beaten myself up endlessly for not getting my career right, for mis-managing my relationships and for other perceived failures.

But what we have to remember is that mistakes, mis-judgments and out and out failures are just inevitable functions of being a conscious human being, active in the world.

Does Lionel Messi ever miss a penalty? Yes he does, but it doesn’t mean he’s a bad footballer.

Did David Bowie make some naff albums? Yes he did, but it doesn’t mean that hasn’t produced an incredibly influential body of work over his lifetime.

Was Nelson Mandela as wise and accepting in his youth as he was in his mature years? Probably not, but that did not stop him becoming a great man and influential leader.

It is okay to lack confidence or to put things off. It’s totally normal to want to avoid certain situations that make you feel uncomfortable. And it is fine to sometimes feel pissed off that things are not working out the way you want them to.

All these things represent normal human functioning in a modern world that assails us with endless challenges, unrelenting change and a high quota of uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity.

Not being perfect is okay.

Not being ecstatically happy is okay.

Not having a life as apparently wonderful everybody else on Facebook is okay.

Not being in an all-encompassing lifelong relationship is okay.

Not having a job you like is okay.

Not having a job at all is okay, in the sense that it it’s not a state of affairs you need to crucify yourself about.

In all these situations and in the the thousands of other ways that we do not match up to the false gods of modern media culture, it is enough to know that you’re doing your best, that you can see a few things that you can work on and that you’re willing to put in the effort to make the best of what you have.

The rest is just bullshit.

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2 thoughts on “Why it is okay not to be perfect right now – or ever”

  1. By definition, perfection is something that is never entirely reachable. We can find perfection within ourselves but even so, to all it will not be perfect. Either way, I really enjoy this. It is like a wake up and calm down call. Being thankful for what you have now will make them little changes in the future all the more perfect.

    • Thanks for your comment Britanica. That’s a nice way to put it – “a wake up and calm down call”.

      We do need to wake up to the fact that it is okay to calm down – that we as long as we’re trying to move in the right direction, that’s enough.


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