This is one of those posts that might at first seem totally irrelevant to business and branding, but I promise you it’s not. I talk in a personal way on this blog because businesses don’t read blogs… people do. *wink*
Businesses are made of people. And so are brands. And that’s why I approach both of those things the same way I’d approach a person, instead of from some wall of untouchable bravado, and I hope that it shows in everything I do… but enough about that! Let’s get back to my personal confession:
I realized something important today.
But in order to explain that further, the first thing you have to understand about me is that I’m a hopeless perfectionist. I’ve struggled with it all my life, and although it comes with a great many gifts, especially in my chosen field, it also comes with a great deal of pain. Because, spoiler alert: I’m not perfect. (I know?! What?! total SHOCKER right???) L.O.L.
But as all good perfectionist’s know, it’s not that you need to be reminded you’re not perfect (oh hell no we don’t…we are literally constantly reminded of it!), it’s that we need constant reminding we DON’T HAVE TO BE.
Because nothing is… life’s not perfect.
And what are we but life?!
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
what I really want to tell you is how and why that hit me today. Again. For the 87 Billionth time.
It happened as I was perusing another businesses website, which led to another, and another, and my stomach just sank with that old familiar feeling, that sick pit of your stomach kind of feeling that I know so well but hadn’t felt in some time—not like this. And it occurred to me that it felt just exactly like being 13 years old, flipping through fashion magazines. Same sinking stomach. Same pit of lack. Same harrowing feeling of “not good enough”.
Comparison. Oh I’ve been here before.
I absolutely tortured my body over that variety of perfectionism for years. And I’m so over and done with doing that! But here I sit. Except for instead of flipping through glossy magazine pages, I’m flipping through glossy web pages. And instead of feeling utterly crappy about my body, skin, or hair, I’m doing it with my business, talents and success.
I am looking down the barrel of that glossiness—that pristine untouchable perfection—and it is SOOOOOOOOO seductive to me. And I know I’m not the only one.
That’s why it SELLS, because this is what it says: they’ve got it all figured out, they’ve NAILED IT, they’ve got it all wrapped up, and perfected, and you don’t. They’re cute and quirky and gorgeous, and every picture and caption they put out is charming and quippy and seems well-but-effortlessly-crafted. They’re the pinnacle of success, and you are not.
There I was all over again—in my teens I was sick over glossy magazines, in my twenties it was high-end home decor catalogues, in my early thirties it was new-agey spiritual and self-help books, and here I am at 38, sick over someone else’s business and brand.
Each instance was a chasing of perfection, just a different kind.
I tried to perfect my body, I tried to perfect my environment, I tried to perfect my person: my emotions, what happened, how I reacted, and more. Each time I failed miserably and eventually realized what I was doing, and let it go… but you guys:
It’s like a whack-a-mole monster, this perfectionist thing is… once I get it nailed in one area of my life, it just pops right on up in another. Oy. But that’s okay… I’m getting better at recognizing it, despite its infinite costumes. Oh snap.. hold up… did I just try to perfect the art of realizing I’m not perfect?? That’s a new low. 😀
I’M NOT PERFECT.
I am never, not ever, going to be perfect. I’m not glossy, or flawless, I’m not ultra modern or totally ON with every trend, I’m not on the cutting edge of fashion, technology or style, I am flawed, and messy in innumerable ways and the things I say don’t always come off cute and quippy or expertly crafted.
I’m a real girl. Like, as in, when Pinocchio was finally “a real boy“. I’ve got an imperfect body and an imperfect life. I say imperfect things, and do imperfect things, and feel imperfect things. I’m not perfect.
I know I keep repeating that and it’s because:
I NEED TO HEAR IT.
And I believe that maybe you do too.
Maybe we all need to hear it a bit more than anybody needs to profit from the idea that we could be. If we’d just… *fill in the blank, ad infinitum*. Because it’s painful. And it’s a waste of our precious fleeting time here on earth.
And also because: guess what ELSE sells??
REAL, and down-to-earth, relatable stuff.
Hilarious, fun, amazing people and businesses that just let the whole lot of it be known. Just think of a few favorite comedians for example, people LOVE that stuff because they can finally RELATE! We love to be in the company of that kind of confidence… the confidence to be really true to all you are.
We crave space to be comfortable, we crave warmth and joy. At least I do. And I strive to create that environment in my work with people, I strive to reflect it in my designs. That warm welcome. Perfection is sharp. But it’s also cold. It’s the opposite of everything I want to create and yet I think that’s what I want – it’s madness! (plus, reminder time: it doesn’t really exist. Like, at ALL. It’s the proverbial carrot before the donkey. You never reach it.)
Anytime I start thinking it’s depressing that I’ll never reach a certain level of glossiness, I just think of my beloved grandpa and my beloved Kita whom I both lost this year, and I remember how there wasn’t one iota of glossiness about either of them, how totally imperfect they were, and how that is absolutely the very reasons I loved them so. Perfectly imperfect. ♥
*ahem… bring it back to business now, Sunni*
Yes, right: Businesses are made of people. Brands are made of people. But more importantly than that: AUDIENCES are made of people… and again, spoiler alert: people aren’t perfect.
Which means, they can relate. And relationships are where it’s at when you’re building a successful business.
This puts you in the powerful position of deciding for yourself if you want to speak as the carrot, or speak as the donkey.
Either way, it’s fine, but I’m taking this opportunity to out myself as the
ass in this scenario. 😉