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How to Accept Imperfection (Step-By-Step Guide)

By Tiffiny J. Fambro | Confidence

Jan 12

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I am proud to say that I have coached a lot of high-achieving successful women- women who have worked hard to build a successful professional career. Some of them also had to be caregivers for elderly parents, a single parent of a child or had to take on the responsibility of helping other family members. Many of them are also highly active in their community, charities, or social events.

These are women that, no matter how busy they are, always find a way to give to others. They are very goal-oriented and feel happy when they are getting things done.

I can certainly relate to this type of high-achieving, success-oriented, goal-focused personality. It has defined a good portion of my own life. With all of this said, as fulfilling as it can feel to achieve a goal, there is a downside to doing so.

The downside to this type of personality is perfectionism. Now, I’m not saying that every successful, high-achieving, giving woman is a perfectionist, but these women do tend to follow certain personality types.

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is the need to appear perfect or only focus on things that you believe you can do perfectly. The issue with perfectionism is that no one is perfect. Holding yourself to the standard of perfection stems from a place of insecurity, feelings of being inadequate, or feelings of being not good enough.

Many times, perfectionism is a need for validation- the feeling that you are worthy and valuable. Perfectionism can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, sadness, and exacerbate other mental health issues.

So, what do you do when you want to accomplish your goals healthily but don’t want to fall into the trap of perfectionism? Do it imperfectly!

What Is Imperfection?

Imperfection is the opposite of perfection. In this context, it means accepting your flaws, not being afraid to fail, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and authentic, and being okay with tasks not being done perfectly.

Years ago, when I was building my business, my coach would always say, “Tiffiny, good enough, is good enough”. She wanted me to understand that I didn’t have to be perfect to accomplish major goals and that perfectionism was an excuse for me to procrastinate and not have to fully show up in my work.

Yes, she called me out on my B.S. because she knew under all that perfectionism was fear. Fear to show the world who I was, fear to be open about the pain of my divorce, fear to show that I had major flaws and didn’t have all the answers.

What I learned from working with her was that instead of trying to be perfect, I needed to focus on being real. I had to accept my imperfection. I had to learn to validate myself, be open to criticism, be willing to love myself on a deep level and be okay with everyone not liking me.

What Does It Mean to Accept Imperfection?

See Failures as Lessons

When Thomas Edison was trying to create the light bulb, he was quoted as saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” Accepting imperfection does not mean that you throw your hands in the air and never try to achieve any goals. It means that when you make mistakes or fail, see those mistakes or failures as learning lessons. Use what you learned to help you grow in your life, career, or relationships.

Increases Relatability

When you are open, honest, and authentic with people (flaws and all), it makes people feel like they can connect with you. It shows that you are relatable because no one is perfect. It permits others to be open, honest, and able to share their experiences with you. Being relatable is helpful in your career, relationships and illustrates your uniqueness.

Builds Self-Awareness

The process of accepting imperfection is also a way to build more awareness into your inner world, mind, heart’s desire, and even your physical body. To accept your imperfections, you have to be willing to learn about who you are, why you think the way you think, and what’s important to you. Learning who you are is a part of building self-awareness.

Self-awareness involves asking yourself questions about what you perceive as your imperfections. For example, “why do I feel like I need to be perfect?”, “What happens when I’m not perfect?”, “what would my life be like if I accepted myself more?”, “How can I love myself more even with my flaws?” Accepting your imperfection allows you to get closer to your true self.

Helps You Celebrate Yourself

Accepting imperfection allows you to be okay with just being you. It helps you separate who you are from what you do, or what you accomplish, or who you are in a relationship with. Meaning, if you get fired from your job as a high-powered attorney, you will still have the strength to move on with the understanding that your job didn’t define you as a person. You would still be able to love yourself even when you go through a break-up because you would realize that you are still valuable even without that partner.

It would mean that you could still believe you are worthy even though your mother or father never gave you the love or attention you deserved. Being imperfect means that you can celebrate yourself even through the hard times because you recognize that you are valuable as a human being. You can see how amazing you are, even when no one else says it. When you fail, you lose, and even on a rainy day. Embracing your imperfection is the highest form of self-love.

How to Accept Imperfection and Still Work Hard

In accepting imperfection, you can still have a healthy growth and achievement mindset. Having a healthy growth and achievement mindset means setting achievable goals that you believe are best for your life. It means working towards those goals and knowing that if you don’t get them perfect that it’s okay.

Delegate Work

It also opens you up to recognizing where you may need help in achieving your goals. For example, if you are a hairstylist and own a salon, you may need to hire a receptionist, accountant, and shampoo girls. It allows you to delegate tasks without feeling guilty so that you can focus on what you do well.

Focus on Getting it Done

As you work, be mindful to not allow perfectionism to stop you from hitting a target. Be willing to just be good enough and finish the task. If you have a deadline for a project, don’t focus on making the project perfect- focus on getting it done in the allotted time.

At the end of the day, remember that it is better to have an imperfect, finished product than to have a perfect, half-finish product or task. Be okay with just getting it done and understand you can always go back and make updates.

Change your Attitude

Have an attitude of gratitude. Be willing to recognize all the things you have already accomplished, and be thankful for what you currently have. When you can wake up in a gratitude mindset, accepting imperfection becomes easier because you realize that even if are not perfect, you still have a lot to be thankful for.

Living in gratitude also supports your high work ethic because it acknowledges that any time and energy you put in the world (even if it’s not perfect) has the potential to positively affect someone else’s life.

Change your Perspective

Changing your perspective is about seeing all the possibilities of life. It forces you to stop seeing the world in 2-dimensional lenses, i.e. win or lose, black or white, and start seeing it as multidimensional.

When you have a multi-dimensional mindset, you take limitations off your creativity and allow yourself to explore without fear. You permit yourself to say, “I don’t know if this will work, I don’t know if it will be perfect, but I’m going to try it anyway”. It opens you up to be more innovative and free knowing that if you fail, you will still be able to gain knowledge and experience.

Conclusion

Embracing your imperfection is truly embracing freedom. It allows you to be yourself and see your flaws like a badge of honor. It helps you recognize that you are worthy and valuable even without the accomplishments or achievements. It opens you up to new experiences because it helps you step into fear knowing you may not be perfect. And, it makes other people feel like they can be open and honest with you because you are willing to show your authentic truth.

Understanding how to embrace your perfectionism will skyrocket your success and allow you to achieve more in the long run all while stepping into your power, peace, and happiness.

About the Author

Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love

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