I Am the Chipped Plate


The original title for this post was Embrace Imperfection. Strive for Excellence. It was going to be about changing perspectives. The idea started with the discovery of our wedding china.

I am at the stage in my life where I realize I have too much stuff. While looking through the items stored away in the attic, basement, and every hiding place in the house; I came upon a box holding our wedding china. Years ago, when I hurriedly packed up the old set, I could only see flaws.

One of the dinner plates had a noticeable chip on the edge. We never bought a full set before the pattern was discontinued, so we never will. We have four place settings – dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate, coffee cup and saucer- and a platter. I remember feeling embarrassed by the chip in one plate and the lack of bowls.

Now, many years later, I was overcome with sentimentality for the set when I recovered it from the box in the basement. I remembered picking out the pattern with my soon to be husband. We were very daring in choosing a black, art deco pattern. Those were my thoughts nearly 25 years ago. I love the china now and would be proud to use the set when friends visit for dinner.

I was so proud of my changed perspective. I thought, “I will write a blog about embracing imperfection. We need to change our perspective and embrace our flaws. If we are not striving to be perfect, then how do we succeed? Excellence is the answer. We need to let go of perfection and embrace striving for excellence.”

I had let go of perfection years ago, or so I thought. Several very smart thought leaders tell us that once we believe we have conquered our flaws, there is inevitably more work to do.

When I am very excited or on a deadline for a project, I can become a steamroller. I get very bossy. This is a flaw I thought I had confronted and harnessed. Like the chipped plate, I had just tucked it away.

I gave into false urgency yesterday and turned into a bossy steamroller. The biggest problem with this behavior is that I flatten people without realizing it in the moment. In retrospect, I discerned I lost my self-awareness and hurt a friend’s feelings.

While I tossed and turned unable to sleep last night, I had an epiphany: I AM THE CHIPPED PLATE. Rediscovering this chip in my personality did not bring back positive memories. No warm sentimentality emerged from this chip. As a very wise friend often says, “Everywhere you go, there you are.” Now what? Wallowing in self-disgust is not productive and does not repair the hurt I caused.

In this case, what does embracing imperfection mean? I could shrug and think, “Well, that’s just me.” That is not right. Embracing imperfection does not mean I get a free pass. It does mean I have to accept my flaws (this is only one of many) and take responsibility for myself.

How do I strive for excellence while understanding that the chip will always be part of me? I came up with a few ideas.

  • Own the flaw by acknowledging it to myself. “I was wrong.”
  • Look for the triggers. I was very excited and had too much caffeine.
  • Take action to address the pain I caused. Apologize. “Friend, I know I was wrong, and I am sorry for hurting you.”
  • Try to do better.
  • Remember, it is a process. It is life.

How do you address your mistakes? I would love to hear your ideas.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at mary@mbtmorebusinesstodayllc.com

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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