Don’t call me perfect…

Occasionally people fall for the myth that coaches must be perfect – that we’re extraordinary beings who radiate love and success and happiness, and have the perfect life.

That’s a nice ideal to work towards, but it is as ridiculous as it is impossible!

We are simply human – and I sometimes like to think of humanity as “perfect in our imperfection”. I might try to radiate love, but I certainly don’t manage it 100% of the time. And whilst I’m increasing the success and happiness and fulfillment in my life (& hopefully inspiring it in others), there’s a long way to go yet.

In fact, for me – working on these goals and dreams and visions sometimes comes at a cost to those closest to me; when I’ve run out of time or energy or the amount of ‘me’ that I have available to share. So I’m definitely not perfect.

The critical factor though, is one that allows me to feel I’m being authentic and operating from integrity as a coach and as a person. And that is my willingness to look at my darker sides, and to always work on improving myself.

Every time I react in a way that is inappropriate, unbecoming or even childish…

Every time I say something I don’t mean, that is inconsiderate or hurtful…

Every time I disappoint myself, or let myself and others down…

I am fully aware that I have a choice about my behaviour.

The point of awareness is almost like watching yourself from an out-of-body experience: you can see/hear yourself in a situation, and part of you thinks “Why am I saying/doing that? That’s not who I want to be” but there can be a sense of powerlessness in the moment, as you watch the scene play out.

I could choose to ignore that awareness, and next time round behave in exactly the same way. But that is not who I want to be. It is painful looking at the parts of yourself that you’d rather hide; and to change them sometimes feels like putting them on display for everyone to judge. But it is our own judgement we’re actually hiding from.

So, instead of judging, think about the last time you said or did something that was out of integrity, and get curious:

  • Why might I have behaved in that way?
  • How would I have liked to behave?
  • What are some other alternatives?
  • What can I learn from this?

There is no guarantee that you’ll get it right next time, but you will certainly have a stronger sense of choice when the moment comes. And step by step, you’ll move closer to being more of the person you want to be.

After all, that’s the most we can ask of ourselves – which is far more realistic than trying to be perfect.