Perfection is not a thing.
I’ve said this so many times to people I coach, train and support. But I’ve had to say it even more times to myself.
My impulse to show up with my sh*t all together, not a hint of vulnerability, is strong. (For those of you who know the spiritual personality typing system the Enneagram, I am an eight. We despise vulnerability.)
I’ve had to do a lot of yoga and meditation while learning over and over again an important lesson: Pretending to always get it right does NOT serve you or the people around you. At. All. It doesn’t help you form authentic relationships. It certainly doesn’t help you lead a team when a period of change starts to spiral into chaos.
A silver lining of the COVID-19 era is that we have had to abandon such notions of perfectionism if we are even going to survive, much less thrive. In this time, the “teams” forced to make changes are infinite – our families, our friend groups, schools and parent associations, every single business and nonprofit organization, religious institutions, fitness centers and yoga studios, activist movements, and even your Friday night game night has had to change.
In “the before times,” we might have been able to get away with presenting as if we had all the answers and never made a mistake. (Even though it was a total lie.) But there’s no way to keep up the facade when literally everything we know is upended.
Good riddance to perfectionism. That approach wasn’t serving us anyway.
If you’re in a position of influence over or have formal leadership for a group, (I would argue that this applies to all of us) you likely feel that what you are facing IS too chaotic, too challenging, too exhausting to surmount.
You’re right. You will never get it all done or do everything perfectly.
Let me repeat: Perfect is not a thing.
People in your orbit are probably complaining about interpersonal dynamics with other members of the team or leaving for a better job or another commitment; or family fights are erupting over where and how to have your next gathering; or your children are frightened about returning to school; or your classroom is trying to integrate online tools while retaining what’s good about in-person learning, or your congregational struggling with the back and forth between online and in-person worship, and on and on and on.
It is A LOT. You can’t have all the answers, or even all the ideas about moving forward.
But you CAN be intentional.
You CAN be authentic.
So the next time you hear the inevitable grumblings about the imperfect process of change:
Be honest with yourself and your team. Tell them that the constant changes are hard and exhausting to you, too. Name the challenges you’re dealing with, and say that you’re not sure how things are going to go. Even admit that mistakes will likely be made along the way. I’ve always found that people calm down if they hear the truth about the transition repeated calmly, yet firmly.
Pause and take a little time to set an intention. Before a meeting or gathering, pause, breathe and journal to set an intention for yourself. Maybe your intention is to listen deeply. Maybe it’s to help the team to reconnect with your shared values. Maybe you want to remind people that what they are doing really matters. Every time you lose focus, take a breath and come back to that intention.
Being honest and intentional with your team will go a long way in developing the kind of relationships you need to weather the next storm. I’d love to hear how a little authenticity and intentionality work for you.
Are you craving a deeper conversation and some tips to build up your team/group/family in this time of change? Join my Team Building Tips series (2-3/month) this summer. Or you can set up a free curiosity call to talk about your challenges. I’d love to be your sounding board!