Powerfully Imperfect

Last Monday morning I woke up in Tucson and realized I packed all the wrong clothes for my health coaching retreat. I packed for 80 degrees. It was 30 degrees.

Luckily, I packed jeans. Unluckily the only top was a jean button-down. I made do, threw it on, added my purple scarf and then to top it all off: hello flip flops. My toes weren't painted. My hair was in a messy bun.

When I got to the resort, everyone else was wearing cute biz casual outfits, hair done, nails (obviously) done. And then there was me. 

The time came for the Health Coach Institute co-founder, Carey, to invite one of us on stage in front of 180 people to get coached. This is an incredible opportunity, and one that in the past, I had been WAY TOO SCARED to put my hand up for.

But low and behold, in my insane outfit and everything, my hand shot up. Deep down I thought, "there's no way she'll pick me."

..."You! With the purple scarf and glasses!" 

I looked around. Shit. Nobody else was wearing a purple scarf... so up to the stage I went. Flip flops and all.

The old me never would have raised my hand for two reasons: 1. Being scared and 2. HELLO I LOOK INSANE!

But the Monday me remembered my intention to be vulnerable and said, hell with it, I don't care, let's do it.

And I'm so glad I did, because what would unfold would be life changing.

Carey coached me through a powerful sequence on "Daring to Be Seen and Heard."

As we worked through things, I ended up telling a story from high school. How I was in the show choir and in musicals, and I loved to sing, but hated solos. I was way too afraid to mess up in front of everyone. It wasn't only that I was afraid to mess up, I was afraid to A. Show the world I'm not a perfect singer and B. Make anyone feel uncomfortable by my imperfect singing.

We kept going. And I realized I needed to let go of A. Needing to be perfect and get everything right, B. Worrying so much about what everyone else thinks about me, C. Taking responsibility for other people's feelings. God forbid I make them feel uncomfortable.

At the end of the coaching sequence Carey asked me to declare my "power statement," a statement that would embody what I wanted to step into. Without any hesitation the words came flowing out of me:

I am powerfully imperfect.

I realized that when I own my imperfections and let myself be seen and heard anyways, I empower others to do the same. Collectively, we all get to take our masks off and live authentically. We can take risks, chase our dreams, make mistakes and some more mistakes, and it's all ok.

Carey then asked me what "empowered action" I would like to take to step into this new space of being Powerfully Imperfect. I paused, thinking.

Just then, someone yelled, "SING!" And before I knew it, everyone was chanting, "SING, SING, SING!"

Shit.

My heart was pounding. There was no getting out of this.

I was terrified. But I also realized, singing would be my way of fully embodying my powerfully imperfect self. I KNEW when I sang, my voice would shake. I knew I'd probably miss a note. I knew it wouldn't be my best, "perfect" performance. 

And wasn't that the point? Wasn't messing up and showing my flaws the very point of being powerfully imperfect?

It was then that someone yelled, "SING AMAZING GRACE!"

And at that moment I knew that was exactly what I needed: grace to let myself be powerfully and imperfectly seen and heard. 

So I opened my mouth and sang.

My voice cracked. My notes were shaky. But others were good. 

But it didn't matter. For the first time, I messed up, in front of 180 people, and there was no warm wash of shame. My cheeks didn't get red. My heart didn't drop into my stomach. There was no embarrassment.

I was powerfully imperfect.

This was a game changer for me. 

It's something I've already owned when it comes to my body, but it was something I hadn't yet owned when it came down to letting myself be seen and heard in other spaces.

To say I felt liberated is an understatement. And I still do.

And to prove this point even more, the power of imperfection, I wrote you this without editing it. You're getting the raw, imperfect edition of my thoughts.

So there you go. My hope is that you, too, are able to be powerfully imperfect.