By Kandi Short
|DISCLAIMER: Steve Moran will probably kick my butt when he finds out I published this article under his nose; however, it is a story that needs to be told and a lesson we all need to learn. (Hopefully, I'm good enough at my job to warrant some after-the-fact forgiveness. Cross your fingers.)|
By now many of you have probably seen the viral video of the BBC News interview of the Korean expert in which he was adorably photobombed by his own children. However, if you haven’t had a chance to see it, please feel free to take a moment to watch the video below.
The Flawlessness of Flawed People
Clearly, this poor guy was trying to go for a look of respectability – suit and tie, world map on the wall behind him, library of books to one side – but the moment the little girl walks in, strutting her stuff through the room, the attempt at the sophisticated image comes crashing down around him.
We immediately realize this is a dad working from home who is on a very important call . . . during which the worst possible thing that could happen, does happen. These children are obviously so comfortable walking into “Dad’s Office” that it is routine behavior for them. The dear mother, who comes racing into the room in a panic, is so comical that we can’t help but feel the pounding of her heart as she realizes the professional catastrophe that is unfolding. In the blink of an eye, daddy’s big interview is blown.
The hilarity of the situation only builds as she drags her now uncooperative children back out of the room in a desperate attempt to salvage the situation. This is all occurring while her husband is barely managing to keep a straight face. The cherry on top is, without a doubt, the mother’s final crab crawl back into the room – amid the echoing cries of disappointed children in the background – and finally manages to close the door.
The Photoshopping of Reality
On my 12th birthday I was given a camera. Nothing fancy mind you, just one of those long, narrow brick looking things that took 110 film. Yet, I was thrilled! I took photos of all my friends, my family, my house, my pets. You name it, I had to take a picture of it. But this was a far cry from the instant gratification of digital cameras and camera phones. In those days, we would have to drop off the film roll in the little envelope down at the local drugstore, then wait days for the film to be developed and returned until we could actually see the photos. We didn’t have access to things like photoshop or special filters that would make our skin look softer and our waists look smaller. What you saw is what you got.
Not anymore. A quick look at virtually any social media platform and you can immediately see all the different options you have to change just about anything you want in a photo . . . and I am not just talking about red eye correction here. My 16-year-old daughter can take a selfie and immediately add wiggling puppy dog ears, a big black nose and wagging red tongue to her face! While this may sound silly and absurd, in reality, this is what we all do every day.
Filtering Out the Defects
We change the filter on our public image in order to edit the way we come across to the world around us. We try to hide our flaws. We alter our interests. We even edit our personalities. All just to fit into whatever preconceived image we want to portray to others. We try to look perfect, act perfect, be perfect.
How can we risk someone seeing us as we really are? How can we risk appearing like we don’t have our lives as fully put together as everyone else? How can we risk our staff, our co-workers, our employers seeing our imperfections and realizing we might be . . . Normal? . . . Average? . . . Real?
But that’s just it, being real is being honest. After months and months and MONTHS of negative news media, we awoke to the refreshing innocence of a Korean expert’s news interview gone horribly wrong and in that moment we saw imperfection in all of it’s pure, rough cut, unfiltered, unphotoshopped, comical glory. And it was amazing! The internet took a collective sigh of relief and said, “Been there.” It was a completely relatable, real world moment. It was gloriously flawed and hilariously honest.
Have You Met My Boss?
So I have this boss who is a pretty great guy. Some of you may have even heard of him (cough cough). I have actually known him and his family most of my life. His wife was one of my first employers – back when I was still in high school about 25 years ago (Ouch, am I really that old?). She hired me as a receptionist for a senior living retirement community that she managed at the time.
Consequently, it is with some confidence that I can say I feel I know my boss pretty well. He has many great strengths and is one of the most sincere people I have ever met. When you hear the phrase “best interest at heart”, that summarizes his mentality perfectly. No matter what he does, what he is working on, who he is working with or what project he is focused upon – he is ALWAYS thinking about the best interest of the people involved: How will it help them? How will it benefit their goal? How will it improve their environment? He is a businessman, first and foremost, but he is driven by the sincere desire to help the world around him.
One of the neatest aspects of his personality is his complete and unconditional acceptance of people. Whether at work or home, he can meet someone and almost always see the positive. Don’t get me wrong, he is also known for calling a spade, a spade. However, if the person comes to him with questions or concerns, he will almost always take the time to talk with them, recognize their qualities and focus on what he can do to improve their circumstances. Needless to say, it is easy to admire such qualities in an employer.
The Perfection of an Imperfect Leader
Despite how successful my boss is at his job or how much I have come to admire him over the years, he still has one huge flaw that he refuses to recognize. While he accepts other people as they are -- with all their flawed and imperfect features -- he refuses to accept his own imperfections. He is constantly questioning himself, his public persona, his professional speaking abilities, and the public image he presents. In his eyes, it seems he is just never quite good enough. He always thinks he needs to be better: be more dynamic, be more engaging, be more charismatic, be more . . . be more . . . be more.
It's a pattern of behavior that I believe we are all guilty of on some level (full disclosure: I'm admittedly even worse at self-criticism than he is). We can even justify ourselves by claiming that self-critiquing is a healthy habit that leads to refining ourselves and improving our character. But when is enough actually enough? Will we ever finally look in the mirror and think like Stuart Smally from that old Saturday Night Live skit?
I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!
Reality is, one of the things that makes my boss so great is that he is so real, so relatable. He is exactly as you see him, AS/IS. He is normal, even goofy. He is honest, sometimes brutally. He is flawed, often opinionated (Don’t get him started on politics. No, seriously, you've been warned). He is imperfect, even occasionally wrong . . . though rarely of course (Hey, I like my job!). However, contrary to his opinion, I believe what he might consider to be defects, are -- in actuality -- some of his greatest strengths as a person. Despite his own self-doubt, he will actually talk about his mistakes and how he learned from them. When he shares his faults, his insecurities, you can’t help but sit back and think: Wow, I’ve been there. I can relate. At the end of the day, these personal lessons -- letting others see the chinks in the armor -- become just as vital to his leadership abilities as his extensive knowledge of the senior living industry.
"Fake it till you make it" is out . . . "Mess up and fess up" is in
So the next time you think that everything has to be perfect, that you have to be perfect . . . think twice. Your staff, your co-workers, even your own boss may surprise you if you let down your guard and give them a sneak peak of who you really are . . . even if -- or maybe especially if -- the real you isn't as perfect and polished as everyone thinks. If the popularity of the BBC blooper family is any indication, the world is obviously getting tired of photoshopped, pinterest-perfect, filtered lives.
We want flawed. We want normal. We want honest. We want real.
“Have no fear of perfection... you will never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali
For those that are interested, The Washington Post just published a follow up interview with our favorite little BBC blooper family. You can find resolution to all those unanswered questions -- like was he actually wearing pants or not -- HERE.