The whole “New Year! New You!” vibe that happens every January never fails to bum me out. 

I consider myself to be a work in progress along the lines of the Sagrada Familia,  so I rarely feel the need to re-think, re-set, or re-configure, I just need to keep on keeping on

I saw another list-serve email and in my in box calling itself a “Monday Motivator” and my reaction was “Argh! I have enough things to suck at this week!”

Now granted this reaction is a slice out of my “never good enough/perfectionism/imposter syndrome”, but it made me think about how often I make myself feel bad about not achieving. Or completing. Or exceeding. 

Sound familiar?

A technique I share with some of my over-achieving, productivity-driven, super responsible clients is something I call choosing the win. (Autocorrect just made that “choosing the wine” but that’s not what this particular chat is about.)

Choosing the win is taking a goal or task you want/need/must! accomplish and breaking it down to the first, 100% achievable step. And then successfully completing that step. (Fireworks! Balloons! Open the champagne!)

I use this method to manage my own nonsense which is why I feel like I can recommend it to my clients with a clear conscience. 

Recently I have been making myself feel sh***y about not exercising. 

Yes, I know how important exercise is for both physical and mental health, but running my own business makes me feel like I need to work 12-hour days to stay on top of everything so I sit down first thing to start writing, or answering email, and suddenly that 45-minute yoga video feels like a huge indulgence. 

So, the win I chose on my imperfect path to getting back to working out every day (HUGE goal!), was putting on exercise clothes. 

That’s it. 

Getting out of bed and into yoga pants instead of the shower.

I’m still reading my newspapers, checking news websites, looking at social media and working on half a dozen “to-do” items simultaneously, but I was doing it in yoga pants.

The next step was putting a yoga mat and weights (3-lb itty bitty weights), in the hall outside my office. 

It took about 5 days of wearing yoga pants before I actually did a 10-minute stretching video. Yay me!!!

And I have now completed the first 20-minutes of the 45-minute yoga video (a 30-day challenge) three times. And that’s a win.

Part of the reason I am calling this the Monday De-Motivator is that my theme for 2021 is “The Year of Being Less Shitty to Myself”. 

So, don’t expect this newsletter every Monday because I’m not sure thats acaheivable. Think of it as a treat that pops into your email. And if you need a quick win that day, you can say ‘I will do one thing today that I will absolutely accomplish’, and then you read the email, and that’s a win. 

Yay you!!!

I hope you will join me as I take my tiny steps on the Path to Imperfection this year. I promise to trip all the landmines so you don’t have to. 

This week’s inspirational anthem (and I use the word week loosely) is from the late, great Curtis Mayfield. Staring the day with music is always a win. 

person hanging on clothesline with message hang in there

Almost daily I tell folks in my workshops and discussions that it’s okay to make mistakes.

When we talk about topics like race, gender, sexuality and other social categories, it’s common for people to hesitate to say something because it might come out wrong or open them up to an attack.

We are all afraid of appearing ignorant and ill intentioned, not to mention being considered racist, sexist or homophobic.

So I encourage embracing mistakes. And I ask folks to let me know – in real time or privately after the fact – if I say something that doesn’t land right with them. If I can’t stand to feel the sting of being wrong then how can I ask anyone else to?

And it does sting, make no mistake. I suffer from the same desire to be perfect at all times the same way many of you do. (Imposter syndrome has to wait for another post or I’m going to get off topic.)

I genuinely appreciate the feedback I get because I have come to see it as an act of trust. You have to trust in my open-hearted listening in order to risk telling me that something I said or did came off as wrong or bigoted in some way. You have to trust my reaction will not be to attack or deny your experience.

I believe if you are “someone who gets it” you have to be willing to take it when you don’t. Apologize, learn, do better.

Because I have been practicing this in the DEI arena for a long time the sting is familiar and I can cope.

However, when I make a mistake in another arena, feelings of disaster & panic compete with my instinct to hide and obfuscate. Run! Hide! Deny! Fix it!!!!

But eventually I can get back to the place where I can own the mistake, apologize, learn and move on. And be reminded once again I’m not perfect (ack!!), and that’s ok. Ish.

Having patience and acceptance with the foibles, flaws and “areas for growth” with my clients has become second nature.

Patience and acceptance for myself and my errors and flaws is, as they say, a work in progress.

So I messed something up. The reasons matter less than what I do about it now.

Deep breathe, suck it up, apologize and hope for grace from those I hurt or offend.

On another note:

I started to name this post “My Bad”, a phrase I have been using for 30 years since I picked it up from high school friends. But the other day, during a discussion about white privilege, a woman said she gets cautious around white people who use phrases like “my bad” and “girlfriend” when they talk to black people.

Ouch. Another lesson learned.

And just so you know, Mea Culpa auto corrects to the very fitting “New Culpable”.