If you’re like most of us, you’ve been taught to do your best, go for gold, the harder you work the more successful you will be. And like many you may have associated that with being the best. But what if that doesn’t serve you? What if your pursuit of perfection or being flawless is creating more anxiety than it’s worth?
The thing is, we are drawn to people not for their perfection, but for their acceptance of their imperfections. We admire people who may seem flawless, but they are hard to connect with and understand, and very hard to be like.
The Pratfall Effect says that if you want to build trust quickly with people, showing your flaws is one way to do this. It’s about showing your vulnerability, and in doing so, that increases your connection with others. If we aim to do our best and make mistakes in front of people – others are far more likely to feel connected to you and the day. This makes us ‘flawsome’. Aware we have flaws and being ok with it.
Flawsome is not just making peace with your flaws; it’s knowing that without them, you would not be you. It goes beyond surrendering to your flaws; it means owning them, understanding them and knowing that admitting them gives you your power. It doesn’t take your power away.
But let’s be honest. We can’t just say; ‘Oh great! Now I will be comfortable being me’. It’s not as simple as waking up and reciting new mantras that sit on sticky notes on your mirror. There is no checklist because life is not a clear path, but here are three principles which, when explored, can help you become a better friend, leader, parent, partner, colleague and person.
Understand your triggers
Have you ever played a character in a play? Or been in a band, or part of a group presentation or played in a team sport? For you to play your role you would have been looking for cues from someone else. Whether the cue was a phrase, a look, a movement, you would have looked for it to indicate it was your turn. Ideally anyway.
Identifying the things that trigger you off in life is the same. But if you don’t know what to look for, you won’t get to learn about the role you play when life, people or circumstances trigger you into a response. The reactions become things that either help us grow, and those around us, or hinder this growth. When we stay in our stress responses we are trapped. We don’t seek what true and what’s not.
Seek the truth
The truth is tricky. What’s the truth in conversations or situations? Is it what you think, or another’s perspective? Maybe it’s a combo of both. Maybe it’s neither. Reconciling what you believe about yourself and the impact it has on those around you is where you learn. It might not be comfortable at the start but when you use this as data to help you grow, it becomes freeing.
We need to remain open to whatever is coming our way. When we treat feedback as information, not a personal attack, the learning begins. When we react poorly, and stay in our triggers, we stifle our opportunity to evolve. It’s the curiosity and our search for truth when the magic begins. It’s fear that holds us back from being moving into our transformation.
Continue your transformation
This is where your courage lies. The courage to be open to many truths, to know that one person’s perspective of you is just that. It’s not automatically adopting others’ beliefs, or punishing them for having them. It’s seeing it as an opportunity to add to what you already know. The aim is to add to your pool of knowledge, not diminish it.
Transformation is endless and it requires discomfort. To know that you are perfectly flawed. That you are awesome because of your flaws. It’s the differences in each other that make us valuable. We just need to learn how to embrace our inner flawsome. To learn that the journey to being whole, is learning to be holey.
Georgia Murch is an expert in designing feedback cultures and helping people reconcile the feedback they give themselves. She is a best-selling author and has just launched her third book, Flawsome; The Journey to Being Whole is Learning to be Wholey. For more information of how she can help you or your organisation, visit georgiamurch.com.