The beauty of imperfection

Occasionally when I’m feeling blue, I look for another basset hound puppy. 

Because puppies. 

Not long ago I was on a breeder’s site, and there was a puppy at a discounted price, because his nose was crooked. 

Once I got over my indignation, I realized this breeder sold show dogs, and the crooked nose meant this puppy couldn't be shown. But I was still offended on his behalf, because he was the cutest darn thing I'd ever seen. (And already adopted..)

 My dad's Ovation hollow body, with a few cracks in the body. Along with a 1938 map of Arizona that my grandfather used when he spent time out west being a cowboy.

My dad's Ovation hollow body, with a few cracks in the body. Along with a 1938 map of Arizona that my grandfather used when he spent time out west being a cowboy.

I thought of this puppy the other day while listening to Brene Brown's book "Daring Greatly" and she mentioned the following quote:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in,”
— "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

Brown was talking about the beauty of imperfection and all I could see was that crunchy** little puppy with his crooked nose, being sold at a discount price. 

I’ve never thought of myself as a perfectionist. I’m the absent-minded person who drives off with her coffee still on the roof of her car, and who once lost a semester’s worth of notes in college doing the same thing. If you see me in the minutes before I head out on the floor to coach, my shoes are untied, I’m searching for chapstick and carrying on four different conversations. 

Scattered, sloppy, that’s me. 

A perfectionist though? 

The definition of a perfectionist personality, per Wikipedia, is striving for flawlessness and setting high-performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations. 

Oh suh-nap. 

Um yes, that’s me. Setting high-performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations. Yes. 

Especially with my writing. I will mess around with a piece for days and days rather than post it online. And submit a piece for publication somewhere else? 

No. I’ve never written anything that worthy.  

When I first started working for my current boss, an entrepreneurial whiz who is still only 28 years old, he kept hammering a phrase to me.

Ship it.

Ugh, I’d think. But it could be so much better.

Ship it. 

I want my work to be perfect. Which means I have a computer full of writing and a screenplay that’s never left my desk drawer.

I wrote it in 2003. 

And yet I'm typing this post from a 220-year-old farmhouse with sloped floors and...well...more sloped floors. But it's the character and imperfections that I love about it. 

As I type this, my Dad’s Ovation hollow body guitar is sitting in the corner with small cracks and nicks. The fret board is so worn from the 39 years of love that it buzzes when I play it.

And that’s why I love to play it. 

We’re always waiting for the perfect conditions to do so many things. You’ve got a five-mile run planned but the day starts to get away from you and you realize you don’t have time to do that five-mile run so you bag the whole thing. 

In reality, it’s better to do a 20-minute walk with your dog than nothing at all. 

It’s better to eat a healthy dinner even though you had pizza, chips, and cookies for breakfast and lunch. 

The imperfect book you publish is better than the perfect one that never leaves your computer. I’m trying really hard to focus on this one myself.

Waiting for perfection can be a convenient crutch. I know because I use it. 

Sometimes it's more important to share the imperfection than spend all of your energy searching for what's perfect.

And to appreciate that the imperfection invites growth. 

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. 

Thanks, Leonard, for the reminder.