Flawsome: being awesome in spite of or because of flaws. Everyone and everything is flawed. Perfection is an illusion. It’s an ideal we strive for but can never attain. It sounds harsh to say that, but that’s actually a good thing. Flaws add uniqueness to our being and flavor to our lives. How boring it would be if we had nothing to do or be because we were already perfect.
That isn’t to say that we should just accept all of our flaws, end of story. Some are for accepting and embracing, others are for working on. Some we can even use to our advantage as we work on them. Flaws give us opportunity for growth.
I have blue eyes. There is a brown fleck in my left eye. This is a flaw. One I can’t do anything about. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it or bad about it. It’s just a genetic abnormality. It doesn’t negatively affect me in any way. I have no issues with it.
Another of my flaws is that I have a lot of self-doubt. This is a flaw that I need to work on. Accepting and embracing it would be detrimental to myself and to my colleagues. Just last week, I had an issue come up at work and self-doubt crept in.
A client e-mailed me to say that he had accidentally canceled someone’s insurance coverage in our benefit administration system. In and of itself, this doesn’t cancel anything. What it does do is send me a notification that I need to cancel the person’s coverage. However, the client e-mailed me immediately and I saw that before I got the notification from the system. I e-mailed him back to let him know that he absolutely did the right thing and that I would work on trying to get that fixed in the system.
I had just had a training session the previous day on how to update benefits in the system, but I wasn’t confident in my ability to do it because I had only seen it done once. I had never done it myself. I sent a message to the account manager and asked her if she would like for me to attempt it or if she’d rather I didn’t mess with it myself. She didn’t answer.
I sat with it for hours and, finally, I recognized that my having asked the account manager about it was me seeking validation outside of myself. A friend once told me, “The fact that you’re seeking validation means that you already know the right answer. You’re just afraid.” And wasn’t that the truth.
Then, I thought about one of Jay Shetty’s episodes that I listened to a couple of weeks ago. He said whenever you hear those negative thoughts, ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? What is the worst that could happen if I don’t listen to it? What is the best that could happen if I don’t listen to it?
I had no way of knowing whether or not it was true that I couldn’t fix the problem myself, because I hadn’t ever tried. The worst that could happen is that I don’t manage to fix it and the account manager will have to fix it later. The best that could happen is that I fix it. Since the worst case scenario is the same situation I was already in, I decided to try. It worked!
At the end of the day, the account manager came back and apologized for not answering right away. She’d had a situation come up, which I totally understand. That’s how it goes in the insurance world. She said that she looked at the confirmation e-mail I sent to the client and checked my work in the administration system and it all looked correct. She thanked me and told me I am awesome. The truth is, I was flawsome. I was awesome in spite of my flaw because I had been given the tools to confront it, recognized it for what it was, and applied the tools to regain confidence.
Another of my flaws is overthinking. I am currently learning the tools to work on this. Overthinking can be an asset, especially in my line of work, as overthinkers are generally good problem solvers. Because we analyze every possible scenario before we do anything, we can see problems before they arise and solve them or avoid them altogether. However, trying to see every possible outcome is a huge time waster. Not to mention, I can never see them all. I’m not perfect.
I was recently listening to a podcast about the difference between knowing everything and knowing enough. Overthinkers have a tendency to want to know everything before they make a move which is, of course, impossible. If I know enough, and I have self-confidence, I should still be able to fix a problem as it arises. Even when I haven’t foreseen it. That has already proven to be true in the aforementioned scenario. I knew enough about the system. I certainly did not foresee this problem. I was able to fix it.
It’s only by acknowledging our flaws and working on and with them that we can become the best version of ourselves. We can become flawsome.