It’s a rare thing to feel absolutely and totally fearless, confident in walking into the unknown. As human beings, we naturally gravitate towards comfort and the path which is readily established. After all, it’s easier to know that the result of that decision will be pretty close to perfection. Yay for perfection! But have you ever imagined what we’re losing out on when we follow this approach? Have you ever thought about the breadth of experiences that we’re missing simply because the road less traveled is the road less certain, and that just isn’t something we’re willing to risk? From soaring to brand new heights to discovering new facets of our capabilities, a deficit of courage in the face of uncertainty is actually stripping us of new experiences.
Of course, it’s not quite as simple as snapping your fingers and being comfortable walking the path untrodden. I’m well aware of that. A lot of what convinces us that the risk-reward ratio isn’t worth it is the socialization of perfection. Socialization, and the internalization of toxic narratives can’t just be wished away. It takes time and practiced mindfulness to achieve. But isn’t it worth the effort? Isn’t it worth it to discard perfectionism and instead replace it with fearlessness and the determination to put ourselves out there? Imagine what we could learn about ourselves in the process!
You know, I was having a conversation with an acquaintance a few months ago. As a type A personality, she forced me to reflect on the idea that in my determination to do things perfectly, to get things just right, I was actually missing out on handling my business. The fear of doing something half-baked had paralyzed my will to put my cards on the table. Putting myself out there had started to feel like a behemoth task for me, simply because of the fear of leaning in. Not cool, you guys. Not cool.
Again, I get it. Changing is not an easy process. I wish everyone could have been privy to that path-altering conversation I had with my acquaintance, but instead, I present to you this Ted Talk. Here, the speaker talks about the importance of bravery over perfection. Using indisputable statistics, she paints a vivid picture of the differences in how young girls are socialized to fear failure versus young boys. Perhaps this could be your first step towards letting go of that fear, and leaning all the way in.