A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing a talk by Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, a non-profit that ushers young women into tech by teaching them to code. Reshma’s goal is to see one million women in computer science by 2020 — no small feat, and she’s making it happen!
In her talk, Reshma shared an insight that stopped me in my tracks: “We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.”
Reshma shared that she hears the same story, time and time again, from teachers in the Girls Who Code program:
“During the first week, when the girls are learning how to code, a student will call her over and she’ll say, ‘I don’t know what code to write.’ The teacher will look at her screen, and she’ll see a blank text editor. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think that her student spent the past 20 minutes just staring at the screen. But if she presses undo a few times, she’ll see that her student wrote code and then deleted it. She tried, she came close, but she didn’t get it exactly right. Instead of showing the progress that she made, she’d rather show nothing at all. Perfection or bust.”
How many times have you done something similar in your business, regardless of your gender?
– Worked on a website or blog post, but didn’t share it with the world because it wasn’t perfect
– Had an idea but didn’t pitch it because it wasn’t quite ready
– Didn’t take action because you felt like you “weren’t there yet”
– Referred a client to someone else because you weren’t sure you could handle someone “that big”
– Thought to yourself, “Next year I’ll be ready to do that…”
I’m here to tell you that your business will soar to new heights when you step away from perfectionism and lean into bravery. More moments of brilliance are found in improvisation than planned perfection.
Your Challenge This Week:
Celebrate your mistakes!
This week, I want you to start by simply noticing when you’re resisting or blocking opportunities for fear of not being perfect. For now, noticing might be enough to rock your world!
However, if you’re ready to take more action, here’s what I want you to do:
Step #1: Think of a time when you made a mistake, when you were wrong, or when something didn’t go as planned in your business. (You may recognize these instances as times when you felt embarrassed, when you took a risk and fell flat on your face, when a client was displeased with you, etc.)
Step #2: Free write for at least 10 minutes about what you learned from this experience and how it changed your business.
Step #3: Proudly share this story with a friend or colleague — getting past perfectionism means being seen as imperfect; not only by ourselves, but by others.
The best way to heal perfectionism is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable — exploring our mistakes, transforming them into positive experiences, then sharing this information with others is the pathway to freedom.
If you’re moved by this topic, I encourage you to check out Reshma Saujani’s TED Talk!