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Why Imperfection Leads to Reinvention

You can’t reinvent unless you are willing to practice imperfection.

It’s almost impossible. I’ve thought about this quite a bit lately since we’re all in reinvention mode. The pandemic demands it, right?

I have to tell you I really hated to give up my perfect in person career fairs I planned for Klein College at Temple University. In my humble opinion, they rocked. Six hundred students and 80 media and communication employers squeezed into one room was my idea of a fantastic day. By February 2020 I had it down to an art form.

I bet you had things you did that were sweet perfection too, before we went into lock down.

Enter the virtual career fair. UGH! I did it. I created it but I’m not going to tell you I liked it. In fact, I will admit the first one was a fairly horrible experience for our students. I wrote them all an apology but with a promise, “I’ll make this better.”


Having been on a journey of doing one new thing a day for a year, I learned about accepting imperfection daily. Whether I was learning to hula hoop or baking my first cake from scratch, I discovered there is rarely perfection in a first time experience. I had to get used to the idea of imperfection to the point where it became no big deal. Of course, there was also little risk in some of those small “daily dares”.

But eventually they gave me the courage to risk more imperfection and go for the big “firsts”; going back to school, teaching college students.

I learned it is in that ability to risk imperfection, we can open the door to reinventing something pretty extraordinary.

After 365 firsts, I wrote a book, left TV news, and started a new career, basically reinvented my life.

As rewarding as it is, imperfection was the only humbling way of getting there.

We all fear not being the expert, but in a way, there’s no better time than now, now that we are all reexamining the way we live and work. You can always say “Hey, it’s a pandemic. I’ve never done it before.” There’s been very little perfection in COVID world, but without risking imperfection we get nowhere.

I remind my students of this all the time when they worry about their first interview or their first cover letter, or giving a presentation. And besides, perfection can be rather boring. It’s the little imperfections that can become memorable and interesting.

Meanwhile, after my third virtual career fair and hundreds of dozens of virtual workshops and my own virtual keynotes , I’ve had a chance to do a lot of experimenting, finding out what works, what doesn’t. And I just came up with some new exciting ideas on how to reinvent this thing called the virtual career fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I personally hope we get back to a day when we can bring our students and employers back together again in the same room for a career fair.

Until then, I am mindful I’ve been practicing imperfection which was necessary and continues to be so on the way to reinvention.

I’d love to know how you are daring to practice imperfection on the way to reinvention. Please share your story.

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