A weekend of November 2017, I received a message that REALLY irritated me, and decided to transform that negative feeling into a driving force to stand for my beliefs, and share a piece of wisdom with you.
It has to do with spelling mistakes, yellow teeth, and creating an impact no matter what.
PRAISE FOR IMPERFECTIONS
Let me set the scene
This weekend, I went to an art exhibition in one of my favourite museums in Istanbul (SSM, in case you wonder ^^) to see a new exhibition by the controversial artist Ai WeiWei.
If you don’t know his work, I definitely encourage you to check it out, not only because Ai WeiWei is one of the most important contemporary artist worldwide, but also because he is an activist who uses art in order to have a societal impact.
In case it rings a bell, some of his most famous artworks feature “fingers” ;)
I personally find his work hilarious, daring, provocative and smart at the same time.
His government doesn’t.
(After his studio being demolished, him being detained for months at a secret location and his passport being confiscated, Ai WeiWei flew China and now lives in Germany).
One of my favourite quote of his is :
“Maybe being powerful means to be fragile.” — Ai WeiWei
Fast forward few hours after going to the exhibition
This weekend was also the last weekend of a dear friend of mine who is moving away to live in Singapore.
I have a number of friends who have moved away from Turkey, and so it is a sensitive topic for me (I HATE goodbyes!).
We enjoyed a friendly gathering at a gorgeous restaurant on the sea side : amazing food, too much to drink, lots of laughter and discussions.
I went to the bathroom at some point, and felt my phone vibrate in my bag.
I wouldn’t normally check my phone during a dinner with friends, but since I was away from the table, I did. It was a message notification from my Facebook page.
I later wished I had NOT checked that message as it kind of ruined my mood for the rest of the evening.
It was from someone I had never heard from before, and who wrote…
“Good evening. I just read your blog article and it’s interesting BUT – I hope this doesn’t offend you – there are spelling mistakes. What a shame. 😓”
No intro, no goodbye, just this.
I still cannot understand why someone would spend THEIR Saturday night sending unsolicited negative feedbacks to people they don’t know. And I am sad I ‘let’ that ruin my mood.
To be honest, I often receive negative messages (even sometimes insults !!) since I started my online business. I guess that’s because you’re exposed to so many people, there “has” to be a percentage that can’t stand what you do.. and also, people dare to say and write stuff online they wouldn’t in person, just because they are hiding behind their screens.
I usually do NOT let those affect me (and it’s not the first time someone points out my spelling mistakes)… but for some reason, it really stayed in my mind that evening.
- Maybe it was the emotions and vulnerable state of that goodbye party.
- Maybe it was the alcohol.
- Maybe it was because I was tired.
I couldn’t sleep well that night.
I had Ai WeiWEi’s fingers poping up in my head whenever I started thinking of what I could answer to that person.
I KNOW I DO SPELLING MISTAKES
>> I do them in French (for many different reasons, I will not detail here).
>> I do spelling and even grammar mistakes in English, it being my second language.
That doesn’t prevent me to write.
You know why?
Because even if I do those spelling mistakes, my writing DOES have a positive impact.
- Every day, hundreds of new people discover Creators for Good and my mission thanks to my blog.
- Every week, almost 2000 people read my Monday emails.
- Every month, hundreds of people benefit from my free 10 day email course on Sustainable Business Model
- Every year, several dozen individuals joins my mentorship programs, and I have thus helped create over 50 social enterprise in just 3 years.
And even if every once in a while, someone “complains” (!!!!!) about the level of quality I provide in my free content, it is totally insignificant compared to the number of people it DOES inspire, support and encourage.
I HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO HIRE SOMEONE TO PROOFREAD MY WEBSITE & BLOG ARTICLES… BUT HONESTLY, I COULD NOT HAVE SOMEONE MONITOR MY EVERY WRITING AND ESPECIALLY MY COMMUNICATIONS WITH MY CLIENTS.
The last thing I want is to have a perfect storefront and a less-qualitative customer experience.
People who cannot stand spelling mistakes should NOT become my clients, because I do spelling mistakes with clients as well.
>> And so, my communication has to reflect who I really am so that it can filter out those who would let that affect how much value they get out of my services.
This means showing my imperfections to the world in all transparency, so that those who can move pass them can benefit from what I have to offer with my zone of genius.
WHY AM I SHARING THAT WITH YOU?
We all have imperfections.
This shouldn’t stop us from trying our best to build positive solutions based on our strengths and zone of genius.
Will people laugh at you, criticize you, find your ridicule?
Don’t let them stop you.
- I do spelling mistakes, and yet I write to share my message.
- I am shy in big assemblies, and yet I am preparing a TED talk for 2018.
- I am bad with numbers, and yet I run a financially SUPER healthy business.
- I have an accent, and yet I share my message in as many languages I can.
- I have yellowish and not-super-aligned teeth, and yet I smile.
- I am as weak as any other human being, and yet I step into my power to make a difference in the world.
MY QUESTION TO YOU IS: DO YOU HAVE AN IMPERFECTION, OR A LACK OF SKILL, THAT YOU ‘LET’ SLOW YOU DOWN?
Please feel free to share in the comment section below ;)
- Maybe you don’t find yourself “good enough” to reach out to the media & defend your cause and vision.
- Maybe you don’t find yourself “perfect enough” to charge a good price for your product/service.
- Maybe you don’t find yourself “lovable enough” to be your true self and shine authentically.
My message today is: you ARE enough.
No matter how many people your imperfections will “offend”, don’t let that prevent you from having the positive impact you could have on so many others.
“Maybe being powerful means to be fragile”
— Ai WeiWei
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.