The other day I came across this quote from Donald Miller’s Scary Close:
“I am willing to sound dumb. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I’m afraid. I’m willing to contradict something I’ve said before. I’m willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I’m willing to apologize. I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.”
I had it stuck in my head all day. Except unlike a catchy, overplayed song, the meaning behind the quote really stuck with me. As I recited it over and over again, I thought particularly of my work.
“I am willing to sound dumb.” I often ask dumb questions at the beginning of a new project to make sure I understand all aspects of what I’ll be doing.
“I am willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one.” I had to laugh out loud at this. Most times, my knee-jerk reactions are the wrong ones.
“I am willing to express a theory.” In planning sessions, theories are the most important part.
The more I studied the quote, the more parallels I was able to draw. And I realized this: vulnerability accomplishes that which perfection cannot. Steadfast perfectionism can only lead to stubbornness. The belief that your way is the only right way inhibits collaboration in a team environment.
There is something inherently valuable about being willing to admit that you’re wrong. You’re afraid. You don’t understand. You’re sorry. In my eyes, these qualities are far more admirable in a professional setting (or any setting, for that matter) than many traditional skill sets.
Perfection, in any capacity, is overrated and largely unattainable. Make your mistakes, own them, and make up for them. I know I will. I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.