Stories for a Friday: accepting imperfection

I was driving back from yoga and thinking about how I’m not good at certain poses. Forward bends. Anything requiring flexibility in the hips. I am good at balances, and I’m really, really good at savasana (which is all about lying on the floor and relaxing – I really am good at that).

Same as when I’m doing a more traditional workout. Push-ups are not my forte. Nor are lunges.

But I can do them. Slowly and with lots of exasperation.

Anyway, I was driving back from yoga, thinking about how I’m no good at these poses, and maybe not good at anything. And why aren’t a good at them? What is it about me that stops me from being good at forward bends and push ups? Is it related to my other faults? Is one of them causing this, or is this causing one of them?

And suddenly… I stopped.

I stopped questioning myself. I stopped trying really hard to figure out why I’m “no good” at certain things. I even stopped thinking I’m no good at them. Because, for goodness’s sake, I can still do them!


I’m not perfect. Neither are you. And even though I have made a pact to embrace imperfection and let go of striving for perfection, it can still bite me in the you-know-where.

On the days when I’m fed up of not being damn perfect already, when I’m impatient and overtired, when I just want one thing to go right (dude, you didn’t severely injure yourself or anyone else today – something’s going right), I can start slipping into that perfectionism place.

By the time I got home, I was just grateful to be. To be able to go to yoga. To be able-bodied and relatively capable. To have good things to look forward to (if I let myself see them).

Considering my theme for this month is freshening up, it would be easy for my monkey mind to jump into how I need to freshen up my flexibility, to get stronger and better.

I see it differently.

It’s time to freshen up my self-kindness and my self-compassion. I’m imperfect, and that’s just how I’m meant to be.

It’s time to freshen up and re-frame my aims of going to yoga: it’s not about going and doing each pose perfectly. It’s about spending time with myself, with my body, and seeing what I’m capable of today.

It’s the same when we’re too hard on ourselves in business.

Maybe you’ve started believing you’re no good at business, when the business landscape has changed.

Maybe you’ve started thinking that your products aren’t good enough or you’re just rubbish at Facebook ads.

Maybe it’s just not perfect yet, and you’re tired of not being perfect.

Let’s freshen up those beliefs, and re-frame them so that you’re better supported.

Maybe this year is one of exploration for what’s possible. When you launch a product, notice what happens: who likes it, who buys it, whether it takes a little longer to sell than before. That’s not you failing, that’s seeing how the world it.

Maybe you’re learning about Facebook ads. No one nails it first time. Set yourself learning objectives, and notice what you’ve learnt each time.

If you’re tired of not being perfect, write a list of what you’re good at. Notice what works well in your life. Remember that no one lives a perfect life, and no business remains static at the top of its game. You’re in progress.

And mostly, pile on the love, the care, the compassion. Speak to yourself as you would a child or a friend. You’re not perfect. You won’t ever be. But that doesn’t stop you being amazing.

And you’re in really good company…

With love

Jenny x

On getting bogged down

On getting bogged downHello dear blog readers, clients, colleagues, friends, and other people of the internet.

The past couple of weeks haven’t been super easy around these parts. I didn’t quite get my ‘Here’s the thing’ blog out of Friday for a number of reasons, so today I thought I’d go off-piste and send out a blog post that’s a little off-the-cuff, a little raw, and a little more honest.

There have been some things that have hit me hard these past two weeks. We had a small (everyone’s fine) car accident in which a man opened his door into ours while we were moving, which shook me up a bit, and has taken some faff to get the car fixed. Not easy, not expected, and the sort of thing that just unsettles me.

I’ve had quite a bit of work on – lots of you are preparing for Christmas! – and I’ve been jumping from one thing to another very quickly which isn’t, I realise, a sustainable way for me to work. Once again, I’m learning about my own capacity and preferred ways of working. I’m by no means perfect, which still has the ability to kick me in the recovering perfectionist places.

I’m also doing something very exciting and brave – I’m training with Tara Mohr as part of her Playing Big Facilitators’ Training Programme. It’s a six-month stint of exploring how I can help people (mostly women) to play bigger. I’m committed to learning more about what I can do, how I can help, and what I want my business to look like, so this feels like the right time to dive in.

But oh boy, the first course module is on the inner critic, which is decidedly kicking me where it hurts! The past week has been a masterclass for me in how we can lose confidence in what we’re doing, how we talk to ourselves when things go wrong, and how we can get sucked in to the spiral of doom. Thank goodness for the tools I’m (slowly) learning, and for Tara’s approach!

So, my dear friends and clients and readers and others. I don’t have anything sparkling or wise right now, other to say that, I’m human too. I struggle, I work things out. Life hits me sometimes.

Today, I am going gently, because I can feel the cold I’ve been fighting off for weeks just tipping over into setting in, and because I need to go slowly in order to learn how to bounce back from the inner critic / spiral of doom.

I’m starting to believe, more and more, that we have the capacity to figure things out ourselves, that we have the answers, if we dare to listen to them. I’m getting clearer on the work I want to do – but I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet. I know I will be, and that will have to be enough for me for now.

With care

Jenny x


Here's the thing: bounce-ability

DEVELOPING YOUR BOUNCE-ABILITYI’ve been thinking recently about what it takes to bounce back from set backs. It’s not always easy, when things go wrong, to come back fighting. Or to deal with it at all, to be honest.

Obviously, we try to prevent things from going wrong. We try to stop disasters from happening, and we try to keep people happy and customers satisfied. But we can’t always control the outcome.

In fact, trying to control the outcome all the time is pretty exhausting and can prevent you from doing what you want to do. You can end up not doing anything, because you’re afraid of doing something wrong.

What’s more important, in fact, is how readily you bounce back.

We’re programmed and often in the habit of beating ourselves up when something goes wrong. Of jumping straight into that familiar story of “I’m such an idiot”, “This is a disaster”, “I can’t believe I let this happen”. Whatever your version of this story is, it can hold you back from responding well from the situation, and, ultimately, it can make the “bad thing” worse.

When you get stuck in this blame-shame story after something goes wrong, you reduce your ability to fix the problem. You prevent yourself from seeing things clearly, and you hold yourself back from turning things around.

And you actually make that “I’m an idiot” voice stronger. Which isn’t what we want at all!

If, instead, you focus on your bounce-ability, you give yourself an opportunity to have a much healthier relationship with mistakes and unforeseen circumstances.

I’ve been working on my own bounce-ability for a while, and there have been moments recently when I’ve thought, “Wow, I would never have been able to deal with that so well – it would have spun me out and made me feel like crap for days.” It’s a muscle I’ve learnt to develop. Thank goodness!

For example, last week I hosted my first live call as part of my course, Inspired Action. I’ve done live chat before – where you’re just typing – but not really a live video call. And I had tested the technology a bit, but it still wasn’t what I expected. We had ads (really awkward ones), and people had them at different times. And, in true working-from-home style, my postman was really determined to deliver a package about 10 minutes into the call. Because I was in my usual spot, he could see me from the window, so not only was he ringing the doorbell, he started waving at me from outside!

First off, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who was on the call, and was so understanding and kind while all of this was happening. Thank you all for knowing that I’m human!

I’m also proud of myself for keeping my cool, knowing that I kind of had to make the most of the call anyway. I used humour and kindness to explain what was going on, and I made sure that I followed up online with anyone who’d missed a bit of an answer. I encouraged people to ask for what they needed if they didn’t get it in the call because of the interruptions.

And when I say I used kindness, let me clarify: I was kind to myself.

Even while I was on camera and talking to people, I was running a kindness script in my head. “This is a disaster! No, wait, look, people are really enjoying the course. And they’re still on the call. This is going okay, despite interruptions. You’re handling this as best you can, and you know that you can make up for it afterwards. Let’s keep going. Focus on the question in front of you. Ignore the postie…”

Bounce-ability is a shift from “Oh no!” to “Right, what can I do about this?”. Or, when there’s nothing to do, “I did my best, what can I learn for next time?”. (It’s not “Oh my god, that can never happen again!” But, “How can I make it better next time?”)

Bounce-ability recognises that we’re human, that perfection is an illusion, and that progress is where it’s at!

Here’s the thing…

I wanted to share some ideas and resources to help you build and develop your bounce-ability. Many of the concepts are based in self-compassion, and I highly recommend Dr Kristin Neff’s book ‘Self-Compassion’, and the resources on her website.

Here are some ways to build your own bounce-ability:

  • Compassion. Let’s start with the biggie. A huge part of bouncing back is accepting mistakes as a part of life, a part of human experience. It’s okay to mess up. It happens. It’s hard, but it’s not a reflection of how brilliant you are. Compassion means recognising when something’s hard for you, being nice to yourself about it and giving yourself credit for dealing with it.
  • Letting go of control. Know that you can’t control everything. The “I’m so stupid” response gets in the way of bouncing back because it reinforces the false belief that you’re able to control every outcome, and have failed. In actual fact, you’ve done your best, but something has happened.
  • Repeat after me: It’s not the end of the world. Let’s get some loving perspective on whatever has happened. Sure, you might be embarrassed or have lost money on a mistake. But you’re still here, still breathing, still able to choose a great way to deal with it.

The points above are phase 1 – the good self-talk, the positive reinforcements. The better able you are to connect with these three principles, the easier it will be to move on to phase 2 – dealing with it.

  • Focus on what you can do. Once we’ve been kind to ourselves about the problem, let’s stop dwelling on it. Rather than getting caught up in over-thinking all the things that led to the problem, let’s focus on now, on what we can do. It might be time to get out the mop and marigolds, and clean up!
  • Take initial action quickly. This gets easier with time, because you can complete phase 1 more quickly. Even if it’s one tiny step, the quicker you do it, the quicker you let everyone know you’re on it, and it’s going to be fine (including yourself).
  • Have protocol, where possible. This is particularly helpful in your business. For example, if there’s a problem with an order going missing, it can be really helpful for you to decide that you don’t even bat an eyelid – you simply send out another one. Customer’s happy, you’re feeling good, and you haven’t wasted time worrying about how awful or annoying it is. Having protocol, especially for customer service issues, makes it way easier to bounce back from problems. It works really well for semi-predictable situations
  • Think creatively, and think long-term. When you allow yourself to focus on all the options (not just the one where you’re hiding in a corner forever), you can really creative about a problem. You don’t just bounce back. You turn the whole freaking thing around! And, what’s more, you recognise that it’s all about the long-term – one little blip isn’t going to set you back.

It’s not always easy to deal with mistakes, and when things go wrong. And I know from my own experience that this is something to develop over time. But I hope that, next time you find yourself in a sticking situation, you’ll come back to these ideas.

Ultimately, I hope you remember that, even when you mess up or something unexpected happens, you’re doing great, you’re only human, and you’ll survive.

Have a great weekend,



Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.