Being perfect has set me up for failure.
I am by no means perfect and if the title of this gives you the impression that I am misguided enough to believe so, then I apologize.
Charlie and I were talking a couple of days ago, while we walked the beach of Nehalem Bay State Park about all the areas that we need to work, and improve, on. Videography, setting up appointments, editing, social media, speaking nicely to each other… the list is endless.
To stop this focus (which to be fair was making me feel a bit depressed) on what we need to work on, I suggested that we flip the conversation and recap what we accomplished over this past year.
We have produced two video’s – which lead us down the path of what we need to do to make it better.
I have written several blogs and a few stories - are they relevant, are they resonating with people? Eek - it's like throwing the baby and hoping someone catches him.
We have set up a kick-ass web site. Which when I said, “Kick-ass,” Charlie gave me the side eye. I had to back it up by saying, “No! It is really good, and it is a work in progress, so we need to keep that in mind.”
Quit our jobs – solemn nod. Quitting the jobs was an easy task physically, just write out your resignation/retirement letter and turn it in. The hard part was mentally getting ourselves to the point that we were ready to leave the safety nest.
Started two new endeavors – Badges Across America and my independent contracting business with Conference Direct. Which then lead us to talk about how many days off we have actually taken since we returned from our visit to England to welcome our first grandchild on March 26th (side note – he is the frickin’ cutest thing I have ever seen and I am willing to arm wrestle on this one). We have taken three days. Mostly. We still checked in on social media, and glanced at emails… I guess we aren’t very good at not working.
We moved into 180 square feet of living space in the airstream AND we still have some empty storage space. Honestly, this may be the biggest accomplishment when you consider my closet full of clothes and shoes. And bags, scarves, jewelry….
I had to keep re-directing our conversation back to what we have accomplished because each accomplishment listed (and I may have forgotten one, two or five that we covered) ended up in a conversation of how we could have done it better, perfected it.
Perfection may be the death of me. Sometimes, I would like to sit back on my laurels and reflect – without judgement – on what I have accomplished and perhaps more importantly (since I am living in 180 square feet of space with this guy), what WE have accomplished.
One of the things we didn’t cover in our conversation was how we have accomplished living together in a small space, with distance separating us from our support network of friends and family, without killing each other. Even when the cat threw up in the car. Numerous times. Or scratches the dashboard of our pretty truck. Or when Mother’s Day didn’t live up to my expectations – which in his defense was never verbalized and not even fully fleshed out in my own mind. We are living together, mostly peacefully, with some of what I like to call, “discussions,” and what others have called bickering. We haven't resorted to name calling, plugging our ears and saying, "I'm not listening to you," and neither one of us has smothered the other with a pillow. I hope I didn’t just give him an idea…
Both Charlie and I are doers, and perfectionists. God help our children – I don’t know how they turned out to be fairly normal.
Is the striving for perfection just masking the fear of being judged as not being good enough? What if people get annoyed that the video was shaking, or that I let the interview get off topic. What if they ask why the heck I talk with my hands so much? What if they read this blog and decide it's, and therefore we, are a waste of their time?
I have given myself and Charlie this pep talk:
We are not professional videographers, writers, web editors, marketing/social media, etc. We are a meeting planner and a retired law enforcement officer with a catalog of photos of law enforcement (some award-winning ones by the way). We have passion and a desire to share positive stories and images of law enforcement. We are learning and while the curve is steep, we are learning and improving. We need to just put ourselves out there and not worry so much about the judgement of others. We are good enough and we are doing something amazing.
While giving this pep talk to myself, I find it helpful to give myself little kisses to my fingers, and then placing the fingers - and therefore the kisses - onto my cheeks.
So, while we may be discouraged because an organization might not accept a bid for conference management (aka meeting planning), or Charlie has reached out to twenty agencies in Oregon and only one called him back, we are working hard and doing our best. So we aren’t perfect (if you are confused on this, refer back to the first sentence of this story). Deal with it.
p.s. Drum roll please…from the time I wrote this, to now, Charlie has had another agency call him back, making the count TWO agencies. With that, we literally just “Woo Girled!” each other!
Now, onto embracing our imperfections and being kinder to ourselves and each other.
I would love to hear from all of you about how you persevere when you find yourself in new situations.
The pictures below, from left to right, selfie with iPhone 7 at Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Charlie's Canon capturing the sunset on the sand dunes of Nehalem Bay State Park, and another selfie with my iPhone 7 at Nehalem Bay SP.