- Dora Nudelman
Sometimes as coaches, counselors, mentors, and teachers many of us feel pressure to be perfectly self-actualized so that we don't come off as hypocrites. We might even have a deep seeded fear that others will find out that we too sometimes have "bad" days and moments of insecurity and, as a result, they will think that our expertise has little to no value. But what we have to realize is that there is great merit that comes of our experiences, and by showing others our vulnerabilities, we set an example for them of what it's like to keep moving forward, even if things don't always seem ideal.
Personally, as a life coach, I never claim to have the answers to everything. I never claim to be "perfect." And I never tell anyone that they must follow my advice without question. That's because I want to teach people how to be self-empowered and confident in making their own choices rather than reliant only on me to tell them what to do. I have many experiences, insights, observations, analyses, and hypotheses to share with whomever wants to listen, but that does not mean that I am above anyone or "perfect" myself. Yes, I am a teacher of sorts, but I am also a student of life like everybody else. And that's what makes me real.
Now, while I always do my best to follow my own advice, like everyone else, sometimes I falter. But the message I want to impart is not that we must always do the "right" thing or else be thought of as a failure or impostor. Rather, the message I want to teach is that even if we fall, there is always opportunity to get up and try again. As long as we are conscious of what we are doing and making an effort to be and do our best, even if we don't reach those heights every time, there is always another chance to try again.
I know some will say that there is no such thing as "trying"; that there is only do or don't do. But I respectfully disagree. There is such a thing as making an effort, even if we don't succeed right away. Because if we take the "try" out of the equation, then all we end up with is the pressure to be "perfect." And that is a recipe for disaster. If our only measure of success is whether or not we reach our goal, then what do we have left in between? Where does the process go? There has to be value in the journey, otherwise it will all be about the ego and nothing more.
Success does not always mean attaining our goal. Yes, it can certainly mean that, but success is also about the kind of person we each become while on our way to getting there. What we learn along the way is just as valuable, if not more so, than what we get as a result. And for that reason, it is important that whether we are a student or a teacher (and each of us is both), we need not worry so much about attaining "perfection." Instead, all we need to do is focus on our awareness and becoming the person we want to be, even if it takes making some mistakes along the way.
So, whether you are a teacher and worried about meeting others' expectations, or you are a student who puts too much weight on what your teachers have to say, either way, know that we are all human and we are all permitted to be authentic, even if that means being "imperfect" from time-to-time. Consequently, what we all need to do is pay closer attention to the actual message, and test it out for ourselves, so that we can become the masters of our own destiny and achieve the success we truly desire on our own terms.