3 ways to be perfectly imperfect
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Angela M. Joyner, Ph.D.
often pulled in many directions. Our calendars are bursting at the seams with
multiple priorities and scheduling conflicts. We yearn for balance in our professional
and personal lives.
to Michele Kremen Bolton, the author of The
Third Shift – Managing Hard Choices in Our Careers, Home and Lives as Women,
most of us work three shifts each day. Our first shift is spent at the
organizations where we drive results and demonstrate our leadership abilities. Then,
we come home, where we are mothers, wives, daughters, friends, aunts and other
important roles. While our relational roles are not necessarily bound by time,
they require a great deal of emotional and physical investment. Which brings me
to the third and sometimes most stressful shift — the third shift. This shift
is where we spend our time analyzing, criticizing, worrying and feeling guilty
about where we are falling short on the other two shifts. The feelings evoked
by the third shift can wreak havoc on our self-esteem, stifle our confidence
and leave us feeling unfulfilled.
"Listen up — or pay the career penalty”
become fixated on what we are not doing well, we rob ourselves of the
opportunity to celebrate what we are actually accomplishing. As leaders, we
have to give ourselves permission to miss the mark and not get caught in the
trap of perfection.
Here are three tips that helped me:
- Put things into perspective. Everything in our lives cannot be
an emergency or crisis. Give priority to things that give you the most satisfaction
and best align with your values. When you recognize that your life is dynamic
and that priorities can shift, you give yourself the gift of choice. You can
choose what matters today and accept the fact that your priorities may change
- Re-define the word "success.” It can be emotionally and
physically draining to aim for perfection in every aspect of your life.
Perfection is a tough hurdle to achieve and unfortunately our society does not
promote the value of imperfection. We spend inordinate amounts of time, money
and mental energy trying to live up to standards that are impossible, and quite
frankly, unnecessary. When I started on
my professional journey, my goal was to learn, make a positive impact to my
organization and leave a professional legacy. I did not sign up to work 100
hours, miss family gatherings or run my health into the ground. If I had
followed the career examples of people who were deemed "successful,” I would
have most likely have been burned out a decade ago. My definition of success
today still aligns with what I value most: learning, giving back and family.
Give yourself permission to evolve how you define success and ensure it
acknowledges what you need right now.
- Set boundaries. In a rapidly paced and
technology-enabled world, we are expected to be "on” every minute of the day. I
had to learn to say "no” to many requests so that I could say "yes” to
activities that mattered most to me. I had to let go of the guilt I felt when I
declined an invitation. It was not serving me well and was negatively impacting
how I was showing up to the things I desperately wanted to do. Setting
boundaries has been one of the hardest things for me to do throughout my
career. I didn’t want to disappoint others, but I also knew that I could not be
all things to all people all of the time. It was just as important to stand up
for my needs so that I could be effective as a leader and in my other roles.
I am not
saying that we should lower our standards or give less than our best effort. I
am suggesting that, perhaps, we should redefine "success” and give ourselves
some margin for imperfection. I believe when we do, we get more peace of mind
Recognized by Black Health
Magazine as one the "25 Most Influential African American in Healthcare,
Pharmaceuticals and Health Food Industries,” Angela Joyner is passionate
about helping women develop a professional brand that helps them stand out at
work. She is vice president and general manager of the refrigerated portfolio
at ConAgra Foods Inc. and founder of The Wonder Loft LLC. Her career has included leadership positions at Hallmark Cards Inc., Mattel Inc. and Sara Lee Knit
Products. Her doctoral research, The Theodora Effect, focuses on character
strengths and high performance in executive women.
expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not
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