A friend recently challenged me about the work that I do. With a little scorn in his voice he said “You’re supposed to be a life coach, helping other people to make their lives perfect, but your life is far from it. How can anyone actually trust you to be good at this work?”
After I got over the sting of those words, one of my favorite mantras came to mind. It was the way I began my response to him, and the way I’m choosing to begin my post this week.
My best is better than perfect.
You see, he’s right. My life isn’t perfect. And the truth is, I don’t really care.
I don’t want to live a perfect life, and I hope you don’t either. I’ve watched enough people trying to live a perfect life. It seems like a lot of hard work and frustration. And I believe my life should be filled with fun, ease and joy. A perfect life means holding back unless you’re sure you can do something perfectly (and often on the first try). I believe life should be filled with risk, courage and adventure. And maybe that means it gets a little messy sometimes too.
I do my best every day to live my best life. And that’s what I help other women to do too. To be clear on what your best is. To be clear on what you want. And then to take the steps to live that way.
There is a myth that living your best = living perfectly. My intention with today’s post is to dispel that myth. To give you the permission and freedom to simply do your best without feeling the need for it to be perfection.
It wasn’t always easy
You might find yourself thinking ‘easier said than done’. Especially if you’re a perfectionist. I know because I am a recovering perfectionist. I used to be the girl who held back until I was sure I could do things perfectly.
When I was a little girl, I taught myself to ride my bike. We lived on a little farm and had a very long driveway. I took my bike to the end of the driveway and practiced and practiced until I had mastered it. Then I came riding down the driveway shouting ‘mommy, daddy, look what I can do!’ Little did I know, they’d been watching me out the windows most of the time 🙂
As an adult, I had to learn to let go of perfectionism. Mrs. Smiley, my high school art teacher was one of my first influencers in letting go of perfectionism. Whenever you finished a piece and handed it in, one of the requirements was to grade yourself. Not only on how well the piece turned out, but rather on a scale of whether or not you’d put your best effort into the work. If you could honestly say you’d given it your best, your grades would reflect that much more so than whether or not your painting looked more like a Monet than the scribbles of a 2-year old. That was a great gift.
In letting go of perfection, I adopted the ‘my best is better than perfect’ mantra and I worked (and still work) that mantra every day.
I don’t have to cook a gourmet meal every single night for dinner. I can take simple ingredients, give my best effort, and still enjoy a delicious meal with my family without spending 2 hours in the kitchen and having a mountain of dishes afterwards.
I can have friends and family over and don’t have to spend hours in advance cleaning every square inch of my home so I can pretend it always looks like a magazine cover. The kind of people I want in my life are the ones who are there to spend time with me, not to judge whether or not there are still dishes in the drying rack or toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror.
I can give my best to the work I do, knowing that I make a difference in the lives of women around the world every single day. And by being a real human being, being genuine in my awareness of myself and my contact with others, I can be of much better service than if I were spending time and effort in putting on a mask of perfection.
I can be satisfied knowing that I give my best to everything I do. And that my best is good enough. My best is better than perfection.
My life isn’t perfect…is yours?
As you’ve been reading today’s post, has anything struck a nerve? Are you a perfectionist? Even a little bit? I’d love to know how adopting this mantra of ‘my best is better than perfect’ might help you. Share your response in a comment below.