Authentic is the new perfect
“When I let my guard down a little, tell jokes, be myself, and talk about my mistakes, I actually have more success making a good impression.”
Lately I’ve been talking about the tough road to starting a business and my personal journey to becoming an organizing expert. If you’ve been following along, you know about how my approach to life and business has changed since I was a twenty-something in the mid-2000s (and if not, I invite you to click the links above to get caught up).
And while I’m still—in in my business and elsewhere—concerned with looking, sounding, and being professional, I’m more open than I used to be to showing my authentic self and speaking in a more informal manner, which I’ve found seems to resonate better with a wider audience. So, my business provides professional advice in an informal tone—which is actually a pretty authentic description of my favorite self.
Whether I’m dressed for a black-tie affair or wearing my weekend yoga pants, I never totally lose my professionalism. But when I let my guard down a little, tell jokes, be myself, and talk about my mistakes, I actually have more success making a good impression. I need to stop trying to be perfect, or secretive about the things that aren’t perfect. Like my branding coach says: Authentic is the new perfect.
It’s funny that it’s taken me so long to accept the emotional underpinnings of my own goals, since it’s something I always consider with my organizing clients. We all love data and sophisticated analyses that tell us exactly what we have to do to improve x, y, or z. Yet our human behavior is often (okay, usually) disorganized, and we can’t truly improve anything without getting to the root causes of our problems.
In my organizing business, I make sure I familiarize myself with my clients, their impulses, their rationale, and what their decisions are really based in order to custom tailor an organizing system that will fit their individual lifestyles.
This approach is nothing new; I’ve been using it for years as part of my 4-step process. There have, of course, been small tweaks here and there, informed by research and plenty of trial and error. These tweaks have made clients perform even better; I’ve really been able to figure out what works, and refine my process into something like a science. This is how I know, to quote from my first book, "Organizing is a lifestyle that will help you conquer anything."
I strongly believe that custom-tailored organizing systems and routines will massively enhance your work and life. By now, I’ve not only convinced numerous friends and family members of this fact, but also many clients around the world.