You Don’t Have to be Perfect

Being an introvert makes it difficult for me to share my thoughts to people around me, including (especially) family who could be so judgmental and temperamental altogether. Growing up I never really had someone to talk to, although I have older siblings and cousins telling me what to do, how to do things right, and what’s proper. Given the circumstances I assumed it’s normal to grow out as someone serious, perfectionist, and intimidating.

It turns out to be a weakness. I began to reflect myself 2 years ago when my boss, Unspun, told me how I intimidated my colleagues and that it’s okay to let go and have fun at work. I mean, it’s not like I work dead-serious poker face on, but I have to agree I wasn’t living a full live back then. I tried to be perfect.

I tried to gain trust, respect, and credibility by doing work to the best of my ability, only to realize now that I could have done better by building person-to-person relationship with my client first before business. But I was afraid. Afraid to let my guard down, afraid to let them see how vulnerable and inexperienced I was. Most important of all, afraid to let new people enter my life.

I blamed the society I grew up in, so judgmental and always telling people what’s right and what’s not. My 5th grade math teacher slapped my face for not doing my homework. Did it make me smarter? No. Did it have any effects on my social life? Well imagine having 40 other students watching you got slapped and kicked out of the class. It shuts me off.

My eyes were opened so much after I move to US. Seeing people from different background, races, culture, capabilities, yet they all seemed to… accept themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you weight, or if your IQ doesn’t exceed 130, or if you couldn’t find a job for months. It doesn’t make you less a unique person that you are. It doesn’t make you worth less for employment, for love, for a better life.

Me at Happy CupLast year I wouldn’t have been proud to say I worked as a Barista in a coffee shop, considering ‘society norms’ that puts retail and ‘server’ on the same class as blue-collar worker. If I hadn’t make a mistake of making a Macchiato instead of a Latte, or Iced instead of hot, maybe I would still curse myself for making small mistakes. I probably wouldn’t realize how important it is to start a conversation with a customer and that it is our job to make them happy. Be it to customer, client, or business partners.

The fact that they can still be happy even after I make a mistake (one even left a bigger tip afterwards) proved to me that they will accept us and put up with the imperfection if only we open up enough and let them understand what we’re going through. I came to a conclusion that it’s better to make mistake and live life rather than trying to be perfect and have regrets in life.

That small and career-irrelevant part-time job I had made me realize that it’s okay to make mistake, to flaw, to not be perfect, to be yourself, and most importantly to take pride in whatever you do. If you only live once, wouldn’t it be great to love everything you do?

Happy Cup - Tyndall AFB
Happy Cup – Tyndall AFB

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