How to be a Success When You’re NOT Perfect!

Esther Blog - Typo.jpg

My typo was spotted at the Barclays Conference! LOL.

Confession, I’m not perfect!  

Not only am I NOT perfect, I am truly terrible at many things.

(Hey I am brilliant at a few things too, more on that later)

Do you ever feel like you’re soooooo not perfect, you might as well give up?  Well don’t.  Because I’ve discovered that being perfect is NOT the secret to success. In fact, it’s the opposite.

I often think my imperfections are worse than everyone else! My attention to detail SUCKS, I’d make a terrible lawyer because I hate reading through reams and reams of paperwork.  

I seriously need help when it comes to organising my diary because for some reason I can be totally unrealistic about timing.

Why did I think it would take 30 minutes to get to Canary Wharf in London E14 from Spitalfields, E1?  You need wiggle room of at least 15 minutes. Doh! 

My typing errors are comical. And I recently did an online adult-dyslexia (is that the right spelling?) test, and the results showed that I was 64% likely to be dyslexic.  Turns out I’ve been covering it up for 40 years by reading a bit slowly and setting up safety nets and spell checks at every opportunity.  (I still got a 2,1 BA Hons degree!)

I had a funny moment at the Barclays WIL (Women in leadership conference) last week when I was talking about using your strengths and celebrating your best bits.

Three members of the audience (all lawyers) confessed that they were brilliant at spotting typos and bad grammar. They were self-confessed ‘Grammar Nazis’.  They all had an amazing eye for detail and could spot the rogue apostrophe or superfluous comma like nobody else.  (I was secretly jealous of their talent.)

And look what they spotted?  

My TYPO arrrrhhhh! 

It was ironic that I happened to be talking about best assets! (One T Esther, that’s one T!)

We all had a laugh and therein lies another one of my best assets.  

I can laugh at myself and my mistakes.

I do know how to spell ‘asset’ but my non-detail eye just didn’t pick up my typo.

So , please will you do me a big favour?

Please do let me know when you spot one of my corking typos!  

I do have the most fantastic editors (thanks Kim) and proof readers (thanks Claire).  They know I am particularly blind when it comes to caps, commas and consistency with spelling!

Here’s the ironic thing.  I am brilliant at a few things too;

  • Ideas

  • Creating content 

  • Giving people confidence to step outside their comfort zone

  • Giving people a personality so they can thrive!

In fact, you may have heard of the BBC4 quiz show ‘Never Mind the Full Stops’, hosted by Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes (see clip below).  A few years back when I worked in the BBC Format Entertainment Department, I was the co-creator of this series!

It was a grammar and punctuation quiz format inspired by the famous Lynne Truss Book ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’

The joke is, I was the worst speller, terrible at spotting the ‘grocers’ apostrophe’ (ouch) but somehow brilliant at making up quiz rounds for synonyms, homophones and antonyms!

Here’s my big tip for you.  

You may be bad at some things.  Which means you are probably BRILLIANT at other things.  Embrace your brilliant bits and get help with the other stuff.

Once you realise you don’t have to be perfect – because perfection doesn’t exist!  You are free to get on and be the best version of you.

Personally, I feel I wasted a lot of time in my career feeling not-perfect and a bit ditzy. When I look back now I realise that I had so much going for me; fun, creative, collaborative, solution driven, an ability to bring out the best in others…. but I didn’t give myself credit for it.  

So go on, give yourself credit, enjoy not being perfect.  As they say in Silicon Valley, 

“go on, give yourself permission to fail, but when you do fail, fail fast, learn and move on!” (I love that) 

That’s how you become successful, by allowing yourself to make mistakes.

Final tip…

Each morning remind yourself “I don’t have to be perfect today”. 

Go on - don’t be perfect today – feels good doesn’t it? 

Esther Stanhope