The other day I saw a meme of a skeleton sitting on a bench at what appeared to be a bus stop, with the caption: WAITING FOR PERFECTION.
I had a good giggle but at the same time it also made me feel a little sad. So many women are still chasing the unrealistic idea that perfection is achievable somehow, whether it’s as a working Mom, a wife, in the corporate environment or her appearance.
Most working Moms I’ve spoken to are in agreement that striving for perfection, has made their lives very difficult at times. It has undoubtedly had a negative effect on many women’s work performance and their level of work satisfaction and fulfilment.
But today I don’t want to pay too much attention to this P-word which has made each and everyone of us doubt ourselves on too many occasions.
I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t always give your very best and strive for excellence. But if I’ve learnt one thing over the past few years, it’s that striving for perfection and the pressure we place on ourselves, and sometimes also on others, to be “perfect” is not conducive to our careers, our relationships or our lives.
Instead, I believe that rather than wasting our energy worrying about perfection, we should invest that time in a quality which is one of the keys to a successful career. PROFESSIONALISM!
Professionalism is probably one of the most valuable traits which anyone CAN display in a work environment. But in our rapidly changing world, it appears that professionalism has been neglected and that younger generation pay far less attention to cultivate and display this trait.
Google describes professionalism as the ability to maintain high standards in the work you do and the way in which you conduct yourself consistently. Being professional helps you achieve QUALITY results by impressing and inspiring others while simultaneously feeling good about yourself.
Let’s dust off this term and look at what a professional woman in the 21st century looks like:
- She excels in terms of her knowledge, work performance and relationships.
- She is honest, honourable and reliable.
- She remains calm under pressure and doesn’t let her emotions get the better of her.
- She is proactive.
- She is a teacher but also focuses on learning and mastering new things on an ongoing basis.
- She is always prepared to go the extra mile without allowing abuse/misuse.
- She is someone with integrity who displays consistency.
- She is a proud representative of the company and people can see this from her:
- Appearance and behaviour/actions: which includes her hairstyle, dress and how she “carries” herself.
- Communication skills: She is tactful, doesn’t use crude language and respects other people’s time when communicating with them about work. She ensures that she replies to calls, emails and messages during working hours on the same day – even if it’s simply to acknowledge receipt and inform the person that she is attending to their request.
One of the things I mistakenly considered to be part of professionalism for a very long time was “not mixing your work life and your personal life”.
Although this may be true to a certain extent, we need to realise that we are all people with unique stories and different personalities. Our emotions are the driving force behind everything we do and influence every decision we make. That’s precisely why it’s so important to pause sometimes, to see the PERSON working alongside you every day and to form a connection with them.
Because sharing our humanity and our emotions along the way every now and again undoubtedly builds deeper relationships. And when you have bought into or connected with the people you work with, you will automatically be more motivated.
I believe that our female intuition and knowing how and when to make these connections is just one of the superpowers that gives us a head start and the edge in the workplace.
We are all PEOPLE and when we feel that we mean something to someone else and add value, whether it’s a client, a colleague, an employer or manager, we WILL have more buy in / connection and will
Once again, it’s a matter of mindset and attitude – if you and I can adapt our mindset / attitude in such a way that we realise that whatever I do today can mean SOMETHING to another PERSON, we will avoid falling into the trap of simply believing that we are working for an institution.
So, instead of waiting for PERFECTION until the day you die… Rather strive to be as professional as possible in everything you do.
Professionalism is the foundation on which all the other characteristics of a wonder woman are built and is non-negotiable for progress and sustainable success.