In many of my presentations I define the concept of Imperfect Best as follows: “Even when we try our best, mistakes and imperfections will happen. When we do our ‘imperfect best,’ we accept these mistakes as part of the process, learning from them and leveraging them where possible.”
The action of “doing our Imperfect Best” emerged seven years ago in a conversation with friends where I was essentially spitballing ideas for my core message. It sounded catchy and went a long way in describing my life up to that point, so I ran with it.
I imagined my “Imperfect Best” journey from there would be relatively easy and clear cut. While it’s undoubtedly been an adventure, it’s been anything but straightforward.
Here are some unexpected aspects of “Imperfect Best” that I’ve discovered along the way:
IMPERFECT BEST IN REGARDS TO MY MENTAL LANDSCAPE:
Doing my imperfect best relates to how I deal with stress and worry, OCD, and tendency to think of doom and gloom thoughts. Doing my “Imperfect Best” in my mental geography helps me to contemplate myself and all that is going on around me in a more empowered way. I can choose to allow space and compassion where needed and can apply better coping strategies to lead me through the relentless storm that can be my mind sometimes.
IMPERFECT BEST IN REGARDS TO PAST DECISIONS AND RESULTS:
Admittedly, there are crossovers here with my mental landscape but I feel this deserves its own section. I could easily get lost in the fact that my life has been far from how I imagined a successful life would look. I’ve never married, had kids, had a long-term romantic relationship or even dated a woman for very long. I haven’t yet made my first million or even been significantly profitable for that matter. I once believed all of these items were non-negotiable aspects of a life worthy of enjoyment. I could allow myself to get lost in regret about not having lived my teens, twenties, thirties and most of my forties the way I envisioned them, but for me imperfect best is about the journey towards creating the quality of life I want for myself and offering the goodness I can to those around me, instead of accepting defeat or adopting excuses to justify why I can’t have it. It’s about embracing the abundance I want and making the best contribution I can towards it. It’s about taking responsibility for both the best and the imperfect along the way, taking responsibility in a way that empowers me to move through the guilt, regret or anger I might otherwise wallow in.
IMPERFECT BEST IN RELATION TO THE WORLD:
The world and the cosmos are infinitely bigger than me and largely beyond my control. When I check the news, I see or read about my fellow human beings of many creeds, nationalities, and social standings acting in ways that are far from the manner I believe a society should act in an ideal and flawless world. I could definitely fall into the trap of believing my efforts are futile on an earth that seems incapable of righting itself. However, doing so would further add to the world’s woes. No matter how seemingly insignificant, doing my “imperfect best” to act in a way I find purposeful, despite the state of the world, is the best way for me to contribute to society, the world, and the universe.
EXPANDING ON MY DEFINITION:
Even though I gave the phrase “Imperfect Best” its legs, and have written, spoken and discussed it extensively, my definition of it is constantly expanding. I’ve come to discover that I teach “imperfect best” not because I’m a master of the concept, but because I’m an avid and ever curious student, always learning and evolving my knowledge and application of it.
May you use my experience as fuel for the road as you continue your own “Imperfect Best” journey.
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “Doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.