It’s perfectly (more than) okay to be Imperfectly Perfect.

In a conversation last week with my coach Nancy Levin, we discussed how much better and joyful and fun life is once you kill your inner perfectionist. That bitch is evil, I thought to myself. She still shows up from time to time trying to force me to do things a certain way, and I used to feel compelled to follow her lead…it served me well in high school and college when I needed lots of A grades to get to the next level/class and followed me into my 20s as my work ethic was consistently recognized and rewarded by fellow-perfectionist bosses with even more assignments, bigger challenges and an expectation that I’d always get it done because I had proven I could handle tight deadlines even when it meant losing sleep in favor of breaking news or pushing out pages of a new magazine.

Those days taught me that yes, it’s important and fun to succeed in the professional world but decades later, what I value much more than making deadlines or a promotion is being my own boss, getting a full night sleep, taking weekends off (save emergencies) and being so freaking happy and peaceful and joyful that nothing is better than owning my story which is one big fat Imperfectly Perfect adventure.

The more I reflect on all that’s happened not to me, but for me, in the past 10 or so years, the more I realize that there is simply no room in a happy life for a freaking perfectionist. While I still love my house to feel zen and peaceful and clutter-free, that’s because having less stuff around is better for my peace of mind, it’s not about needing everything perfect. My dogs remind me of this daily when they toss their toys around the living room, and bark at the tennis ball that’s landed under the couch. This is what true joy looks like; breaking out the toys and taking time to simply play with my lovable happy pups.

At dinner last night, I looked around the crowded loud restaurant and thought to myself, this really isn’t my scene. But, as I was the guest of someone else I didn’t dare make a scene, I just embraced the discomfort (as I often do) and told myself, “This too shall pass.” Once in my car, I turned Avicii all the way up and thought, holy shit, I am SO lucky to be alive. That guy just died at 28. Funny how I hate loud crowded restaurants but loud music of my choice uplifts my mood on any given day. It’s part of the Imperfectly Perfect zone I constantly find myself in. It’s also being comfortable enough in knowing what brings me joy to use the “no is a complete sentence” theory that works well for anyone battling an inner perfectionist.

As one of my favorite author/teachers Brene Brown says, “You’ve got to break yourself from any perfectionist goals. Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system. Instead, we must want to improve for ourselves, not for others. And, we must practice critical awareness and spot the falsehoods.”

I know when shit isn’t authentic. I know when people aren’t being truthful. That’s their situation, to own, definitely not mine to judge or critique. All I can do is focus on my own level of resilience which Brene says comes to those who do not seek to numb their emotions (as many inner perfectionists do with alcohol, drugs, food). Feeling whatever it is we are going through, sharing the grief, the losses, the sadness along with the joys and the lessons and the gratitude is what transforms someone who previously didn’t see themselves as resilient.

I own that part of my story big time. With the death of both parents and too many friends, several beloved dogs, personal heath challenges, wrong relationships and various other life obstacles that have crossed my path, I agree wholeheartedly with Brene about our ability to cultivate joy, hope and resilience regardless of what’s happened as part of our story. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to enjoy what truly is.” She adds: “The people who have experienced the most trauma are the most grateful and therefore, the most resilient and ultimately the most joyful. It is the ability to weather the storm with gratitude that brings the most joy.”

Who cares what people think. Do what makes you happiest, in work and play. Spend time with people who are grateful and living authentically. “Find what makes you come alive because the world needs more people who have come alive,” says Brown. What the world doesn’t need is more perfectionists. Lose that idea and gain a whole lot of joy. Owning your unique story and sharing it with others will translate to next-level authenticity and that is what will allow us to find true belonging, connection and joy in this lifetime. Be Imperfectly Perfect. Or Perfectly Imperfect. xo

Founder + CEO The Elite Travel Club. Author: Why Not Me?!? Dog Rescuer. Life Changer. Reiki Master.