7 April, 2023
As leaders, we need to embrace our imperfections
We devote a full module in the Sacred Depths Practitioner Training to unpacking and providing lots of tools for undoing the Myth of Perfection.
This is because valuing Perfection is pervasive in Western and capitalist culture, and it has really done a number on most human beings:
The need to look perfect physically.
The need to be the perfect person.
The need to have everything in business go perfectly.
The need to be the perfect parent/child/partner/friend/etc.
The need to be the perfect practitioner.
The need to be the perfect leader.
The reason the expectation of perfection is harmful is because perfection is not attainable.
I’m going to say that again: Expecting perfection is harmful because perfection isn’t attainable.
To be human and alive is to be messy and imperfect. Period. No one is immune to this.
And the illusion that any of us could ever be perfect, or look perfect, or that our businesses could be perfect…or that we won’t make mistakes…all it does is create unnecessary pressure and a whole lot of judgment and shame and disappointment.
This is why it’s so vital that as practitioners, we have tools in our toolbox to support clients to re-wire the perfectionist thoughts and messages that have been handed down to them.
This is also why it’s vital as practitioners for us to model for our clients the experience that we can be imperfect AND also be more than OK – all at the same time.
The problem is that so many leaders & practitioners – because of the ways that they themselves have metabolized messages about perfection – are too scared to reveal or admit to their own imperfections.
This gives rise to behaviors like leaders only posting “perfect pictures” (literally and figuratively) on social media, leaders not sharing with their students & communities when they make mistakes or when things don’t succeed or don’t go their way, leaders not showing the messiness, and also leaders not owning and taking responsibility when they have made a mistake that has impacted others.
We are not doing ourselves or anyone else a service when we try to hide or deny our imperfections.
In fact, we are often hurting others – and ourselves – when we do this.
We hurt others because it maintains the harmful illusion that anyone can be & should be perfect (& thus creates shame in others). We hurt ourselves because we maintain the inner belief that if we are not perfect, or not seen as perfect, we are not adequate leaders.
I make it a point to reveal and share about my imperfections and my mistakes with my community and with my clients (and also, with my kids! I am actively working to un-do perfectionist messaging inside of them. To do this, I need them to see that their mother can make mistakes and STILL be ok and valuable and more than adequate).
I do all of this as a tool for transformation and healing, as well as an act of sacred resistance towards a culture that would otherwise have me not love and accept myself with all of my flaws.
As you work with your clients and lead your community, my invitation to you is to reveal and own your own imperfections, your own mistakes.
If you are willing to be brave enough to stand in your value & power as a flawed human who doesn’t always have things go their way and who doesn’t always know all there is to know and who sometimes makes mistakes, you community can learn to better love and value themselves in all of their flaws and messiness through your modelling.