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A Case for Imperfection, Optimal Imperfection

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Embracing rituals for expansion without getting overly attached to the process or outcome is a recipe for long term success.

Do you ever tire of all the perfect and beautiful people showing you how perfectly they live their perfect lives, perfectly perform perfect exercise routines, perfectly plate the most beautiful, eye catching meals?

Ugh, I mean, it’s exhausting just to watch. I’m usually thinking, “how much time did it take her to get her face on before she started shooting this exercise sequence?” And she’s posting one or more times a day!?! Wait, what is wrong with me? Why am I so lazy and unmotivated? Why can’t I get my shit together?

These people never motivated me so much as make me question my own measure of success through the lens of perfection. And let’s face it, there is no such thing as perfection. I’m not perfect! Nobody is. I am, however, very conscious of the value of my time and energy and sometimes my hair looks like a hay bale as I perform the daily rituals I’ve come to adopt for my own personal success.

Perfection isn't a thing

Don't let perfection be the enemy of success!

Sometimes I don’t meditate. Sometimes I don’t exercise. Sometimes I eat ice cream. Sometimes I binge watch a whole season of garbage TV. But most of the time I make optimal choices and I always start with the attitude that “I will do the best I can today”, knowing that will vary from day to day.

There was however a time when I would get completely derailed when I would go "off plan" in any way. I'd feel defeated and not good enough. I'd go into a full on limiting belief sesh about how I wasn't cut out to succeed. But success is progress and progress isn't linear so don't let perfection be the enemy of success. Make room for the balance required for progress to expand.

We have an opportunity to discover what is optimal for our growth and expansion as individuals, create rituals around that and then perform those rituals to the best of our ability on any given day; knowing each day will present variables that will change the amount of time and energy we have to offer the process. So, we go into it with the greatest intention, make room for modifications and allow for imperfection. Some days we will exceed our expectations, other days we won’t quite get it all in and over time it balances to perfection. 😉 See what I did there?

Optimal Imperfection

Not letting perfection be the enemy of success is what I call Optimal Imperfection. It’s the idea that we optimize our habits, mindset and intention without getting too attached to the process or the outcome. We focus on the good feeling and possibilities of our action and make no room for a punitive mindset when one day throws a curve ball. We celebrate everything we do achieve, and we use celebratory language along the way, even when we are de prioritizing one or some of our rituals.

Cheat days become celebration days. Lazy days become rest days. (Look for my post on the importance of rest and recovery, coming soon) Obstacles become opportunities for a revised point of view. It takes a little reprogramming, and this cool thing called neuroplasticity allows our brains to adapt to and adopt all sorts of new patterns and processes.

Expansion is Freedom

When you expand in any area of your life, you create more room for who you are

We CAN honor our gifts AND our limits, be proud of our wins, endeavor to understand and honor our losses, to love our body parts AND not love our body parts; to simply embrace who we are and nullify any input that says we aren’t enough, especially our own. The key is finding a way to balance knowing we are enough with a growth mindset; not growing because we aren’t good enough but growing because expansion feels good in every way and equips us with the tools and space to live awesomely.

Take a few minutes to consider the word expansion and how it feels. Really, stop reading and sit with how it feels to give yourself more room. Now, take a breath and focus on the sensations as your lungs expand when you draw in breath and how it prepares you to LET GO of the breath. Do you feel better when you have more room; room to grow, room to breathe, room to dance, room to think, room to love, room to do nothing? When you expand in any area of your life, you create more room for who you are so you can define and fuel your Optimal Imperfection.

Get Inspired

Optimal Imperfection is your ideal (your “perfection”) What is optimal for you is only defined by you and for you and without comparison to anyone or anything else. This is fluid and ever changing because we are fluid and every changing beings, but also because as we expand we will naturally seek further expansion. It is kind of like eating a bowl of outstanding macaroni and cheese and you find yourself wanting more of all the deliciousness that dish is bringing. You didn’t know how good that cheese and macaroni would be but now that you do…BRING IT ON. Now, we’re not looking for that kind of expansion, *Wink* but you see my point.

Ready to define the Optimal Imperfection prototype? Bring it on!

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