I was adamant that we would only be doing Little Shops, 2 this time around. I told my kids that, I repeated it. I extolled the virtue of how unnecessary it was to be doing Little Shops and Ooshies….
In some form of justification, we’re buying groceries in any case, right? And yes, we are well aware of the deeper brand recognition. We find ourselves having conversations with our children about WHY this would be something a business would do and WHAT they are trying to get is to remember and do. Kids are remarkable when you have a more significant, philosophical conversation with them. And then we return to how many of what kind and who we will be trading them with.
I discovered recently there have been a series of Ooshies hitting the market that appeared to have failed quality control but made it into the hands of consumers. The imperfect Ooshie is seemingly commanding significant prices with people clamouring to have the rare and imperfect representation of Simba, Scar (with a scar), Pumba, and Zazu. See below:
In life and leadership we can be tempted to airbrush the blemishes, remove the marks and hide the hurts. It’s true for me. More often I am careful about who sees my imperfections, limitations and fears, only to learn those imperfections were quite obvious to more people than I cared to know!
Brene Brown in her 2010 book “The Gifts of Imperfection” says many things, notably she says this:
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power our light.”
The Ancients tell a story of a man with one strong hand and one damaged hand. He was given the opportunity to experience the attention of a physician and was requested to ‘stretch out his hand’ – At that precise moment he had a choice. Do I show my strength, my mask, my capability OR do I show my weakness, my frailty and vulnerability? He chose the latter. Two millennia later I’m still challenged as to whether or not I’d show my strength and miss the opportunity, or humble myself in vulnerability and lean into the possibility.
These five things will help you lead WITH your imperfections not just AROUND them:
Know that we already know and see your imperfections.
Surprise. We already know. We can see it. We can hear it. We can feel it when you’re pressured. We already know you aren’t perfect and whole, and your continual efforts to conceal it are more exhausting than acknowledging that it’s there. We can see it. Don’t hide it.
Side note: Don’t leverage them either. Using them as excuses for bad behaviour or being below the line is just as draining. Just don’t do that, ok?
Be aware that your self-awareness (or lack of) draws us closer to you or pushes us away.
You know that flamboyant, overly vocal, attention seeking individual in the room, the team, the training? If only they knew what it is like to be on the other side of them they would adapt fast, you’d hope.
Self awareness is your secret weapon towards the journey or embracing imperfections. The more you attempt to hide what we can already see, the harder we find it to connect with you. Show us your withered hand. Your vulnerability is safe with us.
Remember you can reveal or conceal your imperfections, both have implications.
The longer we conceal our vulnerabilities the harder it becomes to lean into our true leadership self. As the time passes we get better and better at the armour, better and better at the story, better and better at the dance that keeps us from the very thing we most need to become, an even better version of ourselves.
After a while, I’ve noticed that we actually become the self protective story we most need to break free of. Understanding that, and having a way to become more aware of what it’s like to be on the other side of you; leaning into a pathway of changing the game is critically important to your leadership future.
Remember, light is more powerful than dark. Every time.
I wish the ancients continued the story of the man with the damaged hand. I had hoped they’d shared an epilogue, with us seeing his fulfilment in his vulnerability, the increasing wholeness that comes from that kind of courage, the beauty of life that comes from not just embracing its imperfections but also being ok with others seeing them.
Whatever you keep in the dark cannot be shared, healed or multiplied. The courage to bring the darkness into the light is the one act that changes everything when it comes to what your future could be like.
Like Brene said “Deep down, we want to take our game face off and be real and imperfect.”
Me too. Me too. What’s the imperfection in your inner Ooshie?
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.