A book recommendation at the perfect time is a gift. That’s what The Gifts of Imperfection (Amazon) was for me when my coach recommended it. It’s hard, as a result, to describe what I got out of it – I read it in 3 (weekday, working) days – in this place of yes yes yes this is what I needed to hear right now thank you.
Two things I want to pull out of it. We don’t achieve more by being too hard on ourselves. It’s good to be motivated. It’s counterproductive to beat yourself up. One thing I’ve caught myself doing lately is telling myself that I don’t have time to eat yet. I’ll keep faffing around when it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry because I think I need to get some more things done first. Or I’ll delay finishing work and eating dinner and working out because I have more I think needs to be done. But I never achieve that much when I’m hungry… I’m trying to say “that can wait” and shutting my laptop in search of food and fresh air. It’s not been detrimental to my productivity.
The second is a question – what does brave look like? She takes the example of criticism. Is it brave to respond to criticism by responding to it? Or is it brave to respond to criticism by sitting with it and understanding why it makes you feel how you feel? The answer is it depends on you and the criticism, and leaning into the feelings even when they make you uncomfortable will make it clear.
There’s a metaphor in the book that has stuck with me. We’re by a swamp, and that swamp is our shame. On the other side is where we want to be, and we think we can get there by edging around it. It’s easier, and faster, and better – and possible – to get there by wading through the swamp.