Have you ever been so thoroughly excited to get rolling with something new that you launch full steam ahead, only discover a—gasp!—mistake?
Yeah, me too. Several times.
And unfortunately, it was most recently with the first newsletter* I sent you. (Insert face plant emoji here.) D’oh!
It’s easy to be bummed out when things don’t go as planned, especially when it’s with something you care about deeply.
But nobody’s perfect. (Read that sentence again.)
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: despite the carefully curated façade that social media sometimes promotes, most of us are just trying our best. We all struggle with fear, self-doubt, and vulnerability. And make no mistake; it takes courage to put yourself out there.
As Exhibit A, I’d like to enter my very first LinkedIn video, with its shaky shot courtesy of my tripod-free July 2017 self who didn’t know what she didn’t know:
What surprised me most about publishing this video was its response.
I expected a few friends to take note that I could post videos on LinkedIn. (Remember, this was the summer of 2017; it was still in Beta with only a handful of people allowed access.)
Instead, those 60 seconds swept through the LinkedIn ecosphere like wildfire, carrying with them my encouraging message that it was not only okay to be our “perfectly imperfect” selves, it was preferred.
What a revelation to receive that validation. And quite frankly, a relief. You see, people relate best to people—real, genuine, authentic folks where what you see is what you get.
Of course, when you share your true self with others, you run the risk of meanies and trolls giving you grief, hiding behind their keyboards to let you know what they think of your message, perspective, and yes, even appearance (<— sad but true story).
To those people, I say, “Keep it moving.” Or, to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi, “This isn’t the content you’re looking for.”
Perhaps one of my favorites, Brene Brown, said it best:
“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you're criticizing from a place where you're not also putting yourself on the line, I'm not interested in your feedback.”
It’s also important to note that when you push past your fear and do something anyway, you open the door for others to break out of their comfort zones, whether that’s to try something new… or fess up to their boo-boo. (Oh yeah, *that*.)
Look, we all mess up. What sets us apart is the ability to rise above the embarrassment to be accountable and own it immediately.
Though it sounds elementary, the best way to do anything is to, well, actually *do* it.
Look, I get it. You’re still “strategizing” on that thing, so you haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Or “planning” it. Or “refining” it.
Sorry, but I call BS. What your perfectionistic self (hey, we already talked about that) is really doing is procrastinating, and it’s all based in fear.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.
The one surefire antidote to combat anxiety, doubt, and fear is taking action. And even better, action begets more action.
Remember, progress beats perfection every time. It isn’t made in a single, sweeping, bold gesture; it’s achieved one small step at a time. And every time you take a step, you can adapt and learn better so you can keep moving toward what you want.
Is that path messy and imperfect? You betcha. But you won’t get anywhere until you start moving.
And before I leave you, I want to help you take action RIGHT NOW (because if you’re like me, you’re still reeling from a crazy 2020 and, let’s be honest, a rocky start to this year).
Head on over to my EPIC new article on Forbes, settle in with your favorite beverage (no, really—it’s over 2,000 words), and take your pick of one of the 21 ways to get your year off to a great start. (Or, you know, you could choose more than one. Go on, you little rebel. I see you.)
P.S. If you think this post would resonate with others, feel free to share it with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!
*Wondering what the blunder was? Well, actually, there were two mistakes I’m sure my eagle-eyed readers spotted: a double Illuminate Me banner at the top of the email and a small typo (I typed “I’s” instead of “I’d” in the P.S.). Are they catastrophic errors? Nah. Do they feel that way? Kinda, but only in the moment. And now that I’ve fessed up, I feel better. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. And hey, if you happen to find a boo-boo in this or any future email, please tell me. Because as you know, nobody’s perfect. ;-)