Seriously. Ask yourself this question right now. I would imagine that in your head you believe that you can be both. In your heart I expect that you know the truth. It’s one or the other.
And if you are truly interested in being successful AND joyful in your life, then empowerment and growth are deeply important to you.
We’ve all followed friends, family, and famous personalities on social media, looking for connection and inspiration… Believing that we are creating “real” conversations and gaining wisdom or encouragement. But in actuality, these “connections” often reinforce the idea that we are only successful and worthy if we show up perfect. Every.Single.Day.
Even the posts about “fails” are done with pretty pictures, perfect lighting, and the ultimate witty comment that makes it all seem sterile and well done.
As a woman, and a leader in a women-focused company, my optimistic views are interfered with by this duality every day. I’ve seen it’s repercussions time and again. Creative, intelligent, articulate women shutting down when faced with a challenge. They fear that they won’t get it perfect… so they stop “showing up”.
Truthfully, I’ve struggled with it myself.
I know first hand what it’s like to be in the grip of toxic fear… being paralyzed because you are afraid of something not being perfect. Or worse… getting upset with others because they are “getting in the way of your success”, when in fact, it’s your own struggle with perfectionism that’s holding you back.
Know this: Perfectionist thinking will only cause you, your team, and your business harm.
What’s more, by striving for perfection, we are disempowering the new generation of smart and talented young women entering the workforce by micro-managing & giving them all of the answers, instead of questioning, guiding, and pushing them beyond their comfort zones.
As leaders, we have to change our mindsets and learn to trust that growth produces a better outcome than perfectionism. Punishing mistakes and shaming the individual when they don’t meet our expectations will create a culture of fear and blame. People will learn to hear suggestions as criticism. They will be paralyzed and disempowered. Innovation and team cohesion will suffer.
Instead, we must strive to use difficult situations as learning and growing opportunities for our teams. Ask what people have learned. Is there something that we could have done better? Is there a nugget of wisdom that can help others? Is there an opportunity to improve our product, systems or processes?
By changing the narrative around challenges and “mistakes,” we change the energy in our businesses and open the door for innovation, inspiration, and true success.
My advice for women entering the workplace, or looking to make a change in their careers is to search out companies that have an innovation and growth mindset within a team focused culture. Purposefully choose where you can grow and learn the most. Research the company. Ask questions!
For those that are business owners, continue to strive for growth and learning, rather than perfection.
In order to find true empowerment and joy in your career, you must be willing to let go of the idea that you are going to show up and do everything perfectly. Ultimately you will grow, learn, and know that you are part of something valuable and worthwhile. It’s time to celebrate mistakes and learning. Share your experience with other women. Help to lift them up while encouraging them to face challenges with courage and a can-do spirit.
Falling down gives us the resilience to go farther and reach higher. How have you bounced back from failure? Do you have any words of wisdom for us? Share below or on social media using the hashtags: #ProgressOverPerfection and #BeenThereLearnedThat
At Little Nest, we celebrate mistakes. We see beauty in imperfection, and we know that the best ideas and innovations are born from questioning, trying, falling down, & getting back up with help, humor, and honesty.