Let Your Imperfections Guide You

Being open to imperfection

Learning to see and accept your imperfections is not always easy. I am someone who tries my hardest to do my best at everything I do. When it turns out that no matter how hard I try I’m mediocre at something, accepting that is not always easy. However, over the years and through my yoga practice, I’ve learned that oftentimes being open to your imperfections can guide you to success or at least a better path in life.

From an early age, it was ingrained in me that average wasn’t good enough and that I should strive to always be the “best” in school, sports, and music. It was all about achievement, not necessarily enjoyment. I would work myself to the bone or practice diligently at whatever I set out to achieve. But, there was a time when I was a teenager when I had to face my imperfections head on. This pivotal moment forever changed my life in terms of how I view imperfection, whether it comes as critical feedback or a setback in work or life.

Facing failure to find success

When I was in junior high and high school, I wanted to play violin for the Cincinnati Youth Symphony. I practiced day in and day out with a music teacher from the symphony. I tried out for the Youth Symphony for three years in a row and didn’t make it. In fact, the conductor winced every time I showed up to try out. I was devastated. I was the best at my school but I couldn’t make the city-wide symphony.

During my freshman year in high school, my mom suggested that I play the viola. I wasn’t enthusiastic initially about making this change. But, after more thought, I decided to make the switch and trained on the viola. When I went to try out for the fourth time, the same conductor who had rejected me time and time again stood up and said “That’s your instrument!”

So just when you think that there’s only one way, you might be missing other options by not listening to critical feedback. Put another way -- if you open your eyes to your imperfections, you might realize that there is another path that’s more aligned with who you are and your skill set where you can still find success.

What are you stories around imperfection? Tell me how you’ve faced your own imperfections to create a more rewarding life or career path.

P.S. Today I’m not a professional musician, nor do I still play viola. But I recently started taking bass guitar lessons and play in a band with other adult beginners. Instead of striving to be perfect like I did when I was younger, I’m simply enjoying the process of learning and being a beginner again. But that’s another blog post for another time.