Glorious Imperfection: The Forgotten Key to Success by Christine Kane

Posted by dianne on Jun 24, 2009 in Blog | | No comment

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

– Julia Cameron

How many activities do you sit and think about doing? How many things would you love to try but stop yourself because you don’t know how to begin? Do you avoid adventures because of the pressure to do them well?


Well, then, it might be time to explore one of my favorite success principles:

Glorious Imperfection!

Glorious Imperfection means that doing it badly is better than not doing it at all. As my friend and mentor Lisa Sasevich says, “Build the plane as you’re flying it!”

Lessons from Imperfect Camping

My husband and I love camping. Even more than we love camping, we love the idea of camping.

Two summers ago, some friends gave us all of their camping equipment. Tents, stoves, tools – the works. We talked and talked about how great it was to get all this free stuff.

Then – we didn’t go camping.

We live in one of those outdoors-y, rafting, climbing, “my extreme outdoor sport beat up your extreme outdoor sport” regions. We were intimidated!

So, one weekend, I made reservations at a campground. I called it the “Imperfect Camping Weekend.” My husband was on-board instantly.

Imperfect Camping meant that we could go to a campground, even though “real camping” only happens in the wilderness!

Imperfect Camping meant that we could leave our site and go get a lighter if we forgot one.

Imperfect Camping meant that we got along much better because we didn’t have to do it all perfectly.

Imperfect Camping meant that we actually went camping, rather than just talking about it.

In other words, it was more important to do it than to do it well.

Lots of things are like this.

The “Usta-Be’s”

One of the best times for Glorious Imperfection is when you’ve got a case of the “Usta-Be’s.”

“I used to be so much better at this.”

“I used to be so much thinner than I am now.”

“I used to write every single day, and it got so easy!”

And on and on we go – all the while never starting the very thing that might move us beyond our stuck-ness.

The “usta-be’s” are a trap!

Sometimes I travel so much that I get off schedule with my work-outs. So, I created Imperfect Work-Outs. This means that, upon my return, I only do 15 minutes on the elliptical. It means that I only do one set of reps with my weights. It means that the voices shout, “You usta-be so much better at this! You used to go 45 whole minutes on that elliptical!”

I continue my Imperfect Workouts while these voices shout – but at least I’m taking action.

Why Does it Work?

Because Glorious Imperfection is a way of setting intention. It lets your ego know that you would rather do the activity than wait until you can do it flawlessly.

When you begin a project and you lower the bar – or better yet, remove it altogether – then you’re free to create without any grade. Ironically, this allows for such freedom and joy that you often end up doing a great job. (Or at least having a great time.)

When you demand perfection from the start, then your attention isn’t on the activity itself. Your attention is drained in the perpetual “how’m I doing?” analysis.

For instance, in the camping example, if I had pushed us to “GO CAMPING,” then my standards for what camping is “supposed to look like” might have taken over.

Rather than enjoying camping – I might have been thinking, “We’re not doing so good. Look at those people at the campsite next to us! They’re so prepared! And I forgot to pack the lighter!”

I’d probably end up nit-picking my husband, which would make us both stressed. Then we’d be even more resistant to going camping again – which is something we both love to do, even though we’re not great at it!

An Imperfect List of Things You Can Do Imperfectly

– Imperfect Vacations

– Imperfect Writing

– Imperfect Blogging

– Imperfect Marketing

– Imperfect Dinner Parties

– Imperfect Meditation

– Imperfect Yoga

– Imperfect Hiking

– Imperfect Scrapbooking

– Imperfect Cooking

– Imperfect Bowling

(There are, of course, some things that might not be good for allowing imperfection. Brain surgery, piloting a

commercial jet, and skydiving come to mind!)


Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

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