Ok, now that I have your attention I have a confession to make: I’m not perfect. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can almost hear the collective, “NO SH*T” from all of you!) But seriously, there have been times I didn’t return a call from a prospect in time and lost out on a potential opportunity. Sometimes I forget that I’m standing in front a group of professional small business owners and not BFFs and let an expletive slip out of my mouth. And sometimes I show up to a networking event with melted chocolate all over the back of my pants. Sometimes my posts and blogs are full of typos and sometimes I just completely stick my foot in my mouth and stand there, face as red as a ripe tomato, and stammer; desperately trying to yank the foot out, all the while embedding it even deeper.
I think I’m the typical too-hard-on-myself, I-must-be-perfect entrepreneur. We work so hard and take everything we do so personally that it’s hard to give ourselves a break. It’s hard to be “ok” with being less-than-perfect.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why can’t we accept that we’re human beings – and not machines – and as human beings are going to make mistakes? As I pondered this question, I watched my dog Capone lazily get up from his comfy little doggy bed and slowly saunter across my living room and into the bedroom where I heard the leap from the floor to my bed. I knew he was sprawled out in the middle of my bed like a king. And I sighed, “Well, so much for my pretty new comforter….”
A lesson from my perfectly imperfect dog
Then all of his annoying habits flashed through my mind…. He chases cats with absolutely no regard to the arm on the other end of the leash that used to be attached to my shoulder, he stares at me while I eat (the silent begging), he sleeps all over my furniture like he owns it, he whines and stares and nudges me until I walk him (even if he just had a walk 10 minutes before), and he insists on sniffing every stranger we pass on our walks – especially the ones who are afraid of him.
And I thought; despite all of his imperfections and annoying habits I love that dog to death. I pondered, “How can I be annoyed at him? He’s just doing what dogs do… And how can I be mad at him for being a dog?” (Especially since I didn’t train him any better, but that’s another blog topic).
Does my dog have his faults? Yup! Is my dog perfect? Absolutely!!! He does exactly what a dog is supposed to do! He is 100% D-O-G. And that is what I love about him. I can’t fault him for being a dog – any more than I can fault myself for being H-U-M-A-N. So then, why do I constantly beat myself up for not being perfect all the time???
I began to reflect, “Why can’t I give myself the same defense I gave my dog?? After all, I just do what humans do…. I forget to turn the stove off, I eat unhealthy food, swear at inappropriate times, and I allow my dog on the furniture and didn’t train him not to sniff innocent strangers’ knees”. Am I perfect? Absolutely! I do exactly what humans are supposed to do; I make mistakes, I screw up, I embarrass myself. I then pick myself up, dust myself off and vow to do better next time. THAT is what makes me a perfectly imperfect human!
So, much to my displeasure I will never achieve my unrealistic idea of “perfection”. Nope; there will be plenty more faux pas (what the heck is the plural of that anyway?), slipped “F” words, embarrassing moments, and the sour tastes of foot on my bruised tongue. But I think I am finally realizing – and maybe even accepting – that I am human and will never be perfect. And as a small business owner and entrepreneur, I think the important lesson here is that I continue strive for perfection. We are human, our businesses are run by humans; our marketing, our customer service, our products, our bookkeeping, and our taxes may never be perfect – but as perfectionists we will always strive to be our best – and that is what makes us different from Capone!
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!!
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