When I was younger, I used to strive to have a “perfect” day. A perfect day is a day with no mistakes, where everything goes your way; where you walk with confidence because your hair sits right and your clothes look nice, where you say all the right things, and you laugh and smile connecting with others and enjoying moments that make you feel like you’re a celebrity. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve realized that my pursuit of a “perfect” day was misguided. The real magic and perfection lies not in the overall day, but in the small, precious moments that make up the day.
You see, as hard as I try, I make mistakes every day. Sometimes the mistakes are small and few in numbers where luckily only I would notice; but other times they are large and seem to snowball out of control. As much as I want to always say and do the right things, sometimes the words that come out of my mouth are not what I intended and come across harsh or hurtful; and I make poor decisions that let down people I love, like my wife and children. As someone who has always been a perfectionist striving to foster peace and happiness, I’ve learned the hard way that honest intentions still yield mistakes and imperfections. I’ve also learned the importance of “I’m sorry.”
You’ve heard it before, but life is short and we all make mistakes. In business, we’re encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and fall forward to learn and innovate. In life, though, it’s not that simple because there are emotions and relationships at stake. At the office you can work on an important presentation and show up late for a meeting with little repercussion, but try that excuse after showing up late to your child’s school program.
This holiday season and beyond, let’s put our focus on enjoying the small, precious moments of each day. Accidents and mistakes will happen, we’ll get let down and let others down along the way, but if we’re understanding and compassionate and learn to apologize and forgive, then we’ll look back this time next year with full smiles and countless cherished memories that will last a lifetime.