"The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you
were intended to be." Oprah Winfrey
The answer is, anyone who is not perfect and that absolutely includes me.
I have an extreme story. My history is uncommon and I’ve been a lot of places in my life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
From the standpoint of a speaker who is trying to help others affect change in their own lives, this can be a blessing and a curse. Obviously, for those who need to make some serious changes in their own lives, the parallel might be easily drawn. I am thankful each and every day for being able to touch the lives of those people.
On the other hand, there are many of us out there who are going through life each day without addiction, tragedy, financial struggles, etc. In fact, if someone was to ask us how we were doing, we would inevitably tell them that we were…wait for it…“fine.”
I am no longer addicted to drugs. I don’t rob banks either. I am an upstanding member of society. I make a good living. I have a family that loves me. There are millions of people in this world who would trade places with me in a heartbeat.
And yet, there is always room for improvement. To illustrate, let me give you this example.
I am not perfect. Let me tell you why that’s a problem in my life.
I’ve laid bare my entire history and I do that on a daily basis. That is my sales pitch when I’m trying to get myself hired. I tell people what a fantastically, diabolical, heart-breaking, dishonest, blight on society I was. Then, I turn around and ask them to enter into a business agreement with me and trust me with their deposit, to show up, show up sober, and not rob their audience once I get there.
Is that what they’re thinking? I know for a fact that it is sometimes. And so, in my mind, I’ve decided that the only way to counterbalance that is to be perfect. Perfectly on time, perfectly precise in my accounting, perfectly precise in my agreements, perfectly clear in my communication, perfectly open with references, and perfectly entertaining when I come to do an event.
I am hyper diligent at the expense of my sanity, my time with my family, and my own peace of mind. When I do make a mistake, which happens on occasion despite my best efforts, I crawl into my head and stay there poking around at all of the coulda, shoulda, wouldas that I can possibly find and don’t come out for a long, long time.
As if that wasn’t enough of an issue, I believe that everyone else should be perfect as well. I went through a period of my life where my word meant nothing to anyone including myself. I continue to feel the stigma of that loss to this day. And yet, in this day and age, so many people fling their word around as something that is so inconsequential that it can be bartered and traded away for little more than an excuse for being late, playing the office blame shifting game, or telling “harmless” little white lies.
While I do believe that people should be more diligent in guarding their word, the problem arises when I become so hypersensitive to that environment that I forget that sometimes being late can truly be an unforeseeable, unintentional accident.
That is something that I am working on.
My point in sharing that is that I did not write this article to present myself as perfect or the end result of having “fixed” myself. There will always be change and there will always be things in my life that can be improved upon. The process and the path never end and they can serve far more than the large and daunting problems.
What I invite you to do is see the journey that is waiting for you in even the little things that you would like to improve. Make more money, spend more time with your friends, take a class in Spanish, cooking, comedic improvisation, whatever. There is always room for improvement and dead time beckons to the stagnant.