We live in a society where striving for
perfection has become an obsession.
The perfect face, the perfect
body, the perfect couple, the perfect house, the perfect
family with the perfect kids.
We see multi-billion dollar industries around each
one of these "perfect ideals," and the list goes
on. As a result, imperfection is not
only our foe, it feeds our fear that we will be
unsuccessful if we aren't perfect.
This couldn't be further from the
Imperfection is the source of richness,
beauty and success .
In order to lead our lives forward for bigger and
better results and success, we need to first embrace the
imperfections in ourselves and in all aspects of our
lives. Make imperfection your friend and
increase your productivity.
The drive for perfection is about control;
controlling outcomes, controlling people and controlling
situations. Imperfection can be scary
because imperfection requires letting
I will never forget when I first became a mother
while working at The Coca-Cola Company. One of my
associates said to me, "Laura, now that you are a mom,
maybe one day you too will come in with one blue and one
I didn't really get it at the time, but I
guess in retrospect, what she was saying was, "please
Laura, please be a little bit more human, a little less
The stride for perfection keeps us at an
arm's reach away from others. It doesn't
allow for the critical connections we desperately need
in order to be leaders that others will follow.
Even as a mother, a.k.a. a leader at home, this
stride for perfection plagued me. I have to admit,
it was a challenge early on.
You see, I did want my daughter to dress perfectly
and when she chose ragamuffin clothes that looked like
some homeless person dressed her, well...it took all I
had to not insist she go and change. After
some time, I found beauty in her mismatched outfits that
undeniably personified her. Most
importantly in allowing her imperfection, I learned
about the colors she loved, the fabrics she preferred
and what was important to her. This all
could have been missed if I insisted she wear what I
wanted her to wear.
As leaders, we want perfect results, a
perfect boss, a perfect job, perfect team members, the
perfect promotion and perfect timelines. I know
that I had a great deal of self-induced stress because I
once bought into many of these perfect ideals that we
have about work too; the biggest one being the illusion
of being perfectly polished in every way.
Just think of our images of leaders. Don't these
images suggest perfection in every way....almost like
they are not even human, since they are all-so
In my book, The
Connected and Committed Leader,
that vulnerability and transparency is a trait needed in
leaders. When we are transparent and
vulnerable, others can connect to us and our
messages. When we are more human and less perfect,
we can lead and others willingly follow.
When we strive for perfection we get cut
off from the richness that underlies
I see the stride for perfection cause people to
stop dead in their tracks. It keeps them from
pursuing their passions, from being fulfilled and from
Try letting go of that need to be perfect
and embrace imperfection for more lasting results at
work and at