This last weekend, I did something that scared me. Something that, a few years (or even a few months ago), wouldn’t have even been something I’d consider. I did a vendor event.
Like many vendor events, it was a little chaotic and not super well organized. I have always been someone who likes some guidance and assurance when I’m doing something new. Some training wheels. An extra set of eyes. I wouldn’t say “no” to a full set of step-by-step color instructions and diagrams on “how to be a street vendor.”
But I didn’t have any of that. I had a photo I borrowed of another Jamberry consultant’s display that I used as inspiration. I showed up in the location I was fairly sure I was supposed to set up shop and pretended to have some idea of what I was doing. Even as I pulled the legs out of the folding table I borrowed from my in laws, I realized I didn’t even know how to make the table stay open.
For a split second, I thought about throwing in the towel right then and there. I mean, I didn’t even know how to set up a table. A TABLE.
But I took a beat, I took a breath, and I looked for the little instruction stickers that were surely on there somewhere. Ah, just flick the little red clasp-thingie and then the folding table stays open – awesome. First problem – solved.
Once I got my table set up, the next big hurdle was talking to strangers. Just starting a random chat with people I’d never met – not that simple of a task for an introvert! The first few people who stopped by my booth encountered the most nervous and awkward version of me – but, after ten or twelve such encounters, it got easier. One hundred chats with total enigmas later, and I was actually having a pretty good time with it!
As I had known, I made some mistakes. The biggest thing I goofed on was not having any way to collect people’s information to follow up with them. *Total newbie mistake,* and it’s one that has the potential to cost me a whole lot of customers, parties, and new consultants on my team – basically everything a direct-seller hopes to gain from doing a vendor event! *But,* I kept reminding myself why I was doing this.
For the experience. To learn from my mistakes and do better next time.
It was very difficult for me to accept in advance that I would fail in some ways. It’s difficult to accept the idea of failure *anyway,* but especially failing in a very public way is hard.
While I could go on and on about what aspects of my childhood or mortifying moments in my school years turned me into a perfectionist, I think I’ll just keep it simple. This image sums it up so well:
This was actually an inspirational image-thingie my upline posted in the Jamberry consultants group for my team. It was posted well after I did the event, but it seems to have captured just about everything I’ve been learning these last few months. I’m busier than I ever have been before in my life. I’m doing things I never thought I’d be brave enough to do. I’m talking – in person! – to people I’ve always been too nervous to strike up a conversation with.
And while this is such a wonderful personal development, it’s a little sad, too. Today, I started chatting with another mom I’ve seen around quite a bit – at church, at get-togethers, and even at storytime at the library. Our paths have crossed so many times, but we’ve never really talked. We’ve generally just exchanged shy smiles, and left it at that.
But today, I talked to her.
And she was lovely.
And it was easy.
And I’ve wasted so many years of my life with feeling like I’d just bungle the conversation if I tried to start one, so I may as well just wait until others break the ice.
All these years, *I* could have been breaking the ice!
It’s such a freeing, delightful, walking-in-the-peace-that-passes-understanding feeling to just be *free* of perfectionism for a change – and it’s so wonderful to see how quickly and positively most people respond to extending friendship.
So, from now on, new rule: No more Spotless House. No more Perfect Meals. No more Can’t Risk Failure and Can’t Show Vulnerability. From now on, I choose to extend grace – even to myself.
I know there will be times that I revert. I know I’ll probably go crazy and re-paint the kitchen just before hosting a Thanksgiving dinner (did it) or insist on making every detail of a baby shower by hand (also did it). The striving to never ever ever do anything unless I knew I could do it with the assurance of COMPLETE FLAWLESSNESS is over.
I’m having way too much fun just being free to fail.