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It’s the end of another strawberry season in Ontario. I’ve purchased this fresh, delicious fruit at our local market for the past four weeks. When you buy fresh produce in bulk amounts like this, you’re inevitably going to see a variety of odd shapes.

I’m washing a pint of these yummy red delights and I look down to see the strangest formation. I smiled at its uniqueness and thought this one is going to taste great as I popped it in my mouth. Meanwhile, the kitchen speakers start a new podcast from my playlist and next thing you know it’s Brené Brown and her sisters talking about the gifts of imperfection.
Hmmm. Was the universe sending me a message or what??!! I took that strawberry as a sign. How well do I embrace my imperfections? I think pretty well but now feels like a better time than any to explore it further. So, I dusted off the book The Gifts of Imperfection, head to Brene’s website to complete the wholehearted inventory and commit to following the Gifts of Imperfection summer series on the Unlocking Us podcast.


I’m inviting to you join me on this endeavour. Wherever you are on your journey in life there is much that can be learned exploring the 10 Guideposts from The Gifts of Imperfection. Each week I’m going to share my own personal reflections on the guideposts discussed in the summer series podcast with the hopes that we elevate connection and relish in our common humanity.

Guidepost #1

I started off with a bang and crashed pretty hard into guidepost #1. Authenticity and boundaries??!! Well, I guess I haven’t always been as authentic as I thought, because I’ve been terrible with articulating my boundaries to other people, let alone myself. The light bulb moment was when I realized setting boundaries is vulnerable because it might mean that someone won’t like what I say.
For most of my life I’ve struggled trying to stifle my need for approval so boundaries have been hard (yes, I’m an enneagram 2!). I’ve made good progress this year and I’m getting better at knowing what I need and stating it AND there’s more progress to be made.

Guidepost #2

Guidepost #2 was another eye opener. Self-compassion and perfectionism. Damn! I’m glad this podcast is only covering 2 guideposts at a time. Here was another realization that the perfectionism monster still shows up for me. It hides itself behind terms like high standards or striving for excellence. When I get mired in it, things feel heavy, I doubt myself and connect less with others then self compassion goes out the window. Thanks to Dr. Kristen Neff, I’ve learned about fierce self-compassion and continue to build momentum in this guidepost of the Gifts.
We’re only 2 guideposts in and already I’ve smashed some beliefs about my relationship with imperfection. Hold on tight this is going to be a bumpy ride. Hope you’ll join me and we’ll ride through it imperfectly together. Although, I’m hoping that cherry season won’t stir up anything further!
Carolyn Swora
Carolyn Swora is a workplace culture architect who facilitates development in three core areas; Courage, Resilience and Belonging. Join Carolyn in a conversation via email, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Carolyn’s book, “Rules of Engagement”, is available on Amazon. You can also listen to PWE & ME, Carolyn’s Podcast.