top of page
  • Writer's pictureCécile Hemery

Perfectly Imperfect: you don't always need to be your Best Self

Woman in orange sweater holding cardboard sign that says "Perfectly imperfect"

In today's fast-paced, achievement-oriented world, the concept of being our Best Selves has gained significant traction. However, striving for constant perfection is not only unrealistic but also detrimental to our well-being. In this article, we will explore the importance of accepting our imperfections and limitations, acknowledging our humanity, redefining what it means to be our Best Selves, and how doing so can lead to a more balanced, fulfilling life.

What's your natural leadership approach? Take the leadership profile quiz to find out.

Accepting we’re not perfect

The quest to be your Best Self isn’t always helpful as it puts pressure on us needing to be the best every single time. 

But we don’t need to be our best all of the time.

Actually, one could argue that being our very best 100% of the time would be counterproductive, because how could we sustain that?

We’re not machines, we’re humans, and we need breaks. We’re tired, we get sick, we get emotional ups and downs, we get triggered by something and it takes us a while to let it out of our system. We have lives and things happens that take our attention away from work, and for good reason. Because we have kids to raise, friends and family to support, and life to experience outside of the office: fun, grief, joy, hardhips, boredom, surprises, drama and more. All of these require and deserve our attention and energy. Expecting ourselves to perform at 100% capacity all the time fails to account for the realities of the human experience, good and bad. 

The Value  of Energy Management

Our energy is a precious resource that demands careful management. Just as we wouldn't spend all our money as soon as we earn it, we must be mindful of how we allocate our energy. 

Accepting our limits and recognising when we need to rest and recharge is crucial for long-term success and well-being. 

Giving our 100% is not realistic because it doesn’t take into account the reality of ebb and flow that we experience in our lives and bodies.

What happens when you need to give your 120%, because a huge opportunity came up, and you need to up your game, if your energy tank is empty and you’re already at capacity?

We need to accept our limits, our humanness, our imperfections: we need to work with them rather than against them or denying them. By directing our attention and energy strategically, we can make the most of our resources and be prepared for those moments when we need to go above and beyond. 

Imperfection as a Catalyst for Creativity

Contrary to popular belief, imperfections and limits are not only hindering us. In fact, they can be the very catalysts for creativity and innovation. Many groundbreaking discoveries have occurred as a result of mistakes, forgotten details, or accidental stumbles.

By embracing our imperfections, we open ourselves up to the possibility of serendipitous breakthroughs, innovative solutions  and unique perspectives.

Although we cannot rely on making mistakes that will spark genius eureka moments to achieve success, we cannot either rely on not making mistakes and for everything to go consistently smoothly at full speed.

Redefining the Best Self

Perhaps it's time to redefine what it means to be our best selves. Rather than aiming for an elusive state of perfection, we can aim for balance and self-awareness.

Here’s how I would write my “best self” statement:

  • I am my best self when I balance my needs: when I do the work that needs to be done while respecting my body, my mind and those around me.

  • I am my best self when I don’t push myself when I’m not able to carry the load.

  • I am my best self when I ride the wave when creativity and inspiration strikes.

  • I am my best self when I am conscious of what’s going on inside of me in reaction to what’s going on outside of me, and act in response to the situation rather than through the overwhelm of my emotions.

  • I am my best self when celebrate my successes and forgive my shortcomings

Try these on for taste in your mind:

“I did the best I could with the information and resources available at the time”

“I did good with the information and resources available at the time”

Being our best selves involves attending to our physical, mental, and emotional needs while respecting our limitations. It means accepting that our best may vary from day to day and that "good enough" is often - indeed - enough. This is true for ourselves and other people we work with. Being your Best Self must include self-compassion and compassion for others.

Instead of chasing an elusive state of perfection, we should redefine what it means to be our best selves. Being our best self involves balancing our needs, respecting our physical and mental well-being, and being mindful of those around us. It means not pushing ourselves beyond our limits and harnessing the power of creativity and inspiration when they arise. It is about being self-aware, understanding our reactions to external circumstances, and responding thoughtfully rather than being overwhelmed by our emotions.

Redefining Productivity

We must challenge the belief that we are only productive when we are actively engaged in work. Our minds are constantly processing, making connections, and generating ideas, even when we are not sitting at a desk. Some of our most brilliant ideas often come to us when we’re not actively looking for them: they come when we shower, when we go on a walk, when we talk passionately about that TV show, when we goof around. 

Recognizing that productivity extends beyond traditional work hours is crucial for fostering a healthier work-life balance and genuine brilliance. There should be no guilt for engaging in activities that stimulate our creativity, give our brain space to process or shift our perspective.

Creativity and innovation come easily to us when we’re in a state of flow, but that state will not come to us if we are exhausting ourselves towards an elusive state of perfection.

The Power of Iteration and Growth

Of course we want greatness. But greatness doesn’t come on a schedule; it is a process of continuous iteration and growth. Embracing an MVP (minimum viable product) mindset allows us to move forward without the paralyzing pressure of perfection. It’s OK to keep iterating, to keep growing, to keep getting wiser and more conscious - essentially to keep on getting better without the pressure of needing to be so.

Embracing the concept of "good enough" can be incredibly freeing. 


Accepting our imperfections and limitations is not a sign of weakness, but rather a testament to our resilience and adaptability as human beings. By reframing our understanding of what it means to be our best selves, we can cultivate a more balanced, sustainable, and fulfilling approach to life and work. Embracing the idea of "good enough" and allowing ourselves the space to grow and improve at our own pace is the key to unlocking our true potential and achieving authentic self-acceptance.

How does it feel to be good enough?


Cecile Hemery is a certified Career and Executive Coach, founder of Walayance, specialising in helping quiet leaders navigate professional crossroads and find meaning, impact, drive and recognition in their work.

Picture of coach Cecile Hemery with text "Time to grow, let's chat"


bottom of page