Being perfect all the time…let me rephrase that…presenting the appearance of perfection is tiring. It requires energy that could be spent on things that really matter – your personal and professional life.
I read a great blog post Hello from the Other Side: Adele, Authenticity, and Leadership written by Jackie Nixon about ‘authenticity’ and how when you stop being defensive, prickly, and guarded, life gets easier. It seems to me that this line of thinking is a building trend. Over the last 20 years, I’ve noticed a slow transformation in people, from creating the illusion of perfection to transparency and honesty. An old co-worker used to say she was so tensed up that she wore her shoulders as earrings. Business casual is the new norm and openly finding a solution to a problem together is more effective than pretending there isn’t a problem (not to mention easier in the long run).
Nowadays, people seem more willing to let their hair down and show their true selves. When I’m invited to a friend’s home and it’s not completely immaculate, I actually take it as an endorsement of true friendship (i.e. I don’t judge my friend for a sock on the floor). The video, Company is Coming is a true testament to how we used to clean our homes in preparation for a party, to the point of non-existent life in the house. The Mom in the video yells, “there can be no signs of living in this house!” all poking fun at how we try to create the image of perfection. BTW…Guilty as charged on cleaning before a party, but not to the point of non-existent life – LOL! I am definitely not perfect.
Remember taking your kids to sit on Santa’s lap? Years ago, if the kid cried or didn’t have the perfect outfit and smile, the picture was tossed aside and considered a failure. Now, I see so many people posting the reality of a baby on Santa’s lap: not happy. Of course! It’s normal and pretty hilarious to see the crying toddler pics. It makes me smile (not because I enjoy the terror of children) but because it’s authentic. I applaud the parents who put it out there – it’s real.
Like Nixon points out, being your true, authentic self is freeing. Can you feel your shoulders relaxing? It’s OK to NOT be perfect, and it’s about time.