The desire to be perfect can keep you from trying new things. Work hard to move beyond needing to constantly embody perfection.
Embracing imperfection allows you to give yourself permission to be messy in some cases. Focus on learning rather than embarrassment.
Watch this video on the benefits of embracing your imperfections and helping others in lieu of just trying to save face .
If you would like to learn more about building confidence, being authentic, and moving beyond old patterns that keep you from fully enjoying your life, check out my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader, available at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
Implications for Real Leaders
The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.
To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.
This week’s post features a video of an even more unbelievable story than the last one I shared with you — about a series of seemingly random and recurring events that had a profound impact on me. These experiences provided the courage and the nudge I needed to take action on something that simultaneously excited and terrified me — leaving my stable, well paid job to launch my dream of having my own business. Below is a written version of the story (as it appears in my new book The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be), minus a few details I added in the above video version.
For years I worked as an internal consultant and executive coach for a large corporation in a job I loved. Gradually, I began to recognize my longing to break out to start my own business and have more flexibility and time to spend with my family. Initially, I dismissed these yearnings as something everyone encounters. Then I began looking into what it would take to actually start a corporation. Though I daydreamed of the possibilities, the thought of leaving my job altogether seemed impractical since I was enjoying my work and had wonderful working conditions. I reasoned that I would stay there unless things changed to the point that I didn’t enjoy it anymore.
I kept waiting for things to take a turn for the worse — for someone to tell me I couldn’t do the work I was passionate about anymore, or for the organization to be restructured in such a way that was no longer optimal for me. None of that happened. In fact, things just seemed to get better and better there. Still, these visions and dreams continued to beckon. They became more and more pronounced, until finally I began to seriously entertain the notion of taking action on them.
I began to find screws everywhere I went. I walked across the kitchen floor and stepped on one. An elevator opened up and I saw another one on the floor in front of me. They were turning up when I cleaned my kids’ rooms, and in other odd places. In a meeting, a co-worker and I were pouring over some documents when a tiny screw popped out of her reading glasses and landed on the papers in front of us. Initially, I didn’t think anything of finding these screws. But after several occurrences, I became curious as to whether there could be significance.
One day while on the phone with a very good friend, I related my experiences. “Maybe you’re screwed,” she joked. “Or I have a few screws loose?” I retorted. She suggested we look up the definition of a screw in the dictionary. As she went to get her dictionary, I wandered around the house, phone in hand, straightening things up. When she came back to the phone, among the many definitions she read was one that said “something that must be turned or acted upon in some manner.” As she said the words, I reached into the small drawer of a sewing table in our living room and felt my hand wrap around a zip-lock bag. I lifted the bag out of the drawer to find — you guessed it — a bag of screws in assorted sizes.
This act held profound meaning for me, as it seemed to be the crowning event of a series of seemingly coincidental incidents that became more and more pronounced until they finally got my attention. Whether it was my subconscious mind, the screws, or both, I felt sure there was a message for me. The following week, I gave my notice at work (and didn’t encounter any more screws after that).
For more information on Signs, Synchronicity and Meaningful Coincidences:
A Story About Signs, Synchronicity and Meaningful Coincidences (the first one)
This week’s blog post, My Most Embarrassing Moment, features a video about one of those experiences I’d rather not repeat and why the most powerful lesson from it didn’t come to me until years later. Below I’ve expanded a bit on the key messages.
One of my most embarrassing moments happened while running on a treadmill at a gym. When I went to fix my hair, my foot hit the part of the treadmill that wasn’t moving and I lost my balance. I hit the belt, which was still moving and was catapulted into the middle of the room where other people were working out. Whether it actually happened or not, it felt as though the room went silent and all eyes were on me.
I’m pretty sure I was bleeding. Though I was bruised and in a lot of pain, it didn’t come close to the humiliation and embarrassment I was experiencing. I smiled and nodded as people asked me if I was okay, pulled myself up and somehow hobbled out of there. To this day, I really don’t like to run on treadmills and tend to avoid them.
The lesson I took from that experience is that treadmills would hurt me. But there was a far more powerful lesson that I initially missed. When I fell, I wasn’t in the moment. My head was somewhere else. I wasn’t conscious or balanced and as a result, bad things happened. My belief that treadmills will hurt me and I need to stay away from them is an assumption. A faulty assumption.
In my new book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, I drew an analogy of assumptions like these to the strings that keep Pinocchio from realizing his dream of becoming real and doing what he really wanted to do. My assumption that I need to stay away from treadmills is keeping me from what could otherwise be a very enjoyable experience, particularly if I don’t have the luxury of running outside. I’ve written a whole chapter about how our assumptions keep us from doing the things we really want to do in our lives and how we can dismantle these strings so that we can live and lead in new, powerful ways.
What’s your treadmill story? Maybe it is something you tried that didn’t go very well and led you to rule out the whole experience and figure you were no good at it. Maybe your story is about a person that reminds you of someone from your past with whom you didn’t have a good experience. In either case, chances are you’re believing things that are not necessarily true and keeping you from something that could be really great.
What would you need to do to be free of that?
Become a subscriber at www.DianeBolden.com and receive my free report: Ten Traps Leaders Unwittingly Set for Themselves…and How to Avoid Them.
Though comments are currently closed, please feel free to email me at Diane@DianeBolden.com with your feedback, questions and thoughts. Have a specific challenge you’d like to see a post written about? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you!