Those Seemingly Innocent Flaws

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I started my workshop well. A workshop I have delivered more than a dozen times and in that same room twice before. I felt comfortable and actually was settling in to a lively discussion around time management, an area that I have full confidence in. After decades of training, managing and mentoring people to working to efficiency, I enjoyed the bantering back and forth that my participants started to engage with. Questions were flying and experiences being shared. Everything was good until, someone asked something so random, I wasn’t even sure they had been sitting through the session the entire time. They pressed me for an answer and I wanted to help. But I wasn’t sure how. I began to sweat and my responses began to ramble a mile a minute. Oh crap. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality at 11:30 in the morning. One of my flaws was being exposed and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I went home in despair. I couldn’t believe someone threw me off my game and caused me to stumble, especially during my most favorite subject. What was a girl to do but, start fixing the flaws for once and for all.

Have you ever taken one of those self assessments that tell you how great you are and what “growth opportunities you have? You know, those 100 question surveys, that try and find every detail about you to identify what makes you tick and what keeps you from ticking well. Growth opportunities, issues, development needs or flaws. Call them what you will, yet in the end they all expose the same thing; areas of improvement that could be developed to improve your efforts and results. Flaws, not good, not bad, but what is. Little pieces of thread that binds the fabric of who you are together and at times, get frayed and unfinished. Flaws.

What if our flaws really do hold us back? And as opposed to avoiding, settling or even just accepting them, what if we actually did something about them?

Flaws are flaws, however you want to look at them. They make up our actions, communication, appearance and work. A flaw could be large, like always berating employees and customers or as small as showing up five minutes late for everything. While your flaws should not hold you back from starting your vision, you must work on your flaws to achieve it well.

Recently I had an experience that highlighted some of my own flaws. I almost immediately went to action in fixing those flaws, until I realized something….I have a lot of flaws and if I don’t prioritize the work I do on developing those flaws, I may focus on the wrong thing first and save the biggest thing for a day later, which may be a day too late.

Are you avoiding the biggest flaw of all?

Recognizing you have a problem is the first step. Identifying it, hopefully painfully less than I, will ensure you are clear what the issue is. Prioritizing what would be best to focus on first vs later is a bit trickier.

Foundation systems and behaviors such as schedules, time management, communication skills and work ethic have to be your focus first. Anything else you further do to develop your business and yourself as a leader will fall flat, unless you are engaging with the bare essentials. The biggest flaws of all are usually the smallest.

Have you made a plan to develop it?

Good job on identifying the flaw. It is a big, hard step to finally look in the mirror and say you have a problem. The next step is to develop a plan on how to improve it or them. If the flaw was going to fix itself it would have done it a long time a go.

A plan contains a productive strategy of actions and systems that can be implemented to develop the flaw and “fix it”. The more dynamic the plan is, the more accountable you can hold yourself to levels of changes and development that will affect the flaw. The goal is improvement.

A plan would have a start and finish, actions to practice and behaviors to develop. This could be through practice role plays, learning how to use your alarm clock or always taking five big breaths before speaking. The plan would have a moment to quantify and a mentor to support you.

Who is holding you accountable during your plan?

Most of the time we are all too aware of the flaws that make us the people that we are. Many times we have made feeble attempts too course correct the flaw. However if the flaw persists, what is probably missing is accountability.

Self Accountability may be one of the most ignored skill sets in employees and leaders and ironically the most important. Being in a position of leadership requires even more of it, because, well you are the leader and there are not too many people that are in position to hold you accountable to anything other than yourself. So, unless you have a mentor, business coach or well involved spouse, finding some accountability will help in the earliest, hardest stage of change.

In the past I made excuses for myself and said, ‘I love myself and all my flaws’. I accepted myself as less and for that I will not say I am sorry. I was not ready for the growth that needed to happen, the changes that were going to make me great and the hours of work that it was going to take to get their. It only took one big experience and a willingness to accept that my flaws did not make me who I am. My flaws were something to work on, not with and in the end I became better. My business succeeded. My leadership solidified and my soul developed.

Synergistically Flawless