Inspired Imperfect Action

The Centred Teacher

I was listening to a Yoga Summit the other night and a teacher on there (Laura Cornell) outlined 5 steps to “move in the direction of your desires” and one of these steps has stayed with me – a refrain that I have oft since repeated internally and even out loud in my team meeting this week.

The step was this:

‘Take inspired, imperfect action.’

Our team had decided that a norm for our meeting should be “make decisions efficiently” and I piped up and said “we can take inspired, imperfect action” – they loved it (so did I).

I have written about lifting the shield of perfectionism before as it is something I have struggled with on a massive scale for much of my life until the past couple of years – it is debilitating. And as I said to my year 4 student last year as she rubbed out her artwork for the 10th time “Perfection is the enemy of done” (I didn’t make that up, though I wish I had). We don’t try anything new, we don’t speak up, we hesitate in our decisions and we don’t back ourselves in case what we try, say and decide is not “perfect”. We feel too vulnerable. This step is profoundly applicable to teachers and their students in realising their desires / dreams / learning goals.

You won’t get closer to achieving anything unless you start.

You won’t find out the best pedagogy for your students unless you experiment.

You won’t know if your idea will work unless you test it out.

Give me imperfect action over inaction any day.

We just need to accept imperfection – one inspired action at a time!

Inspired action sounds lofty but as Wayne Dyer always said “in-spired”  means “in spirit” – to live in a way that sees us connected to that deep space where spirit resides. The place that has been obscured by years of stress or disenchantment or sadness or distractions. The place that we have lost touch with in the busy-ness of daily life. In my experience, to live from this place of spirit we must cultivate stillness….and that doesn’t have to be done perfectly either. Stop and do 1 minute of abdominal breathing as you wash up – you don’t need to buy the perfect meditation cushion, incense, crystals or download an app – these are all distractions. Just be silent and still with that monkey mind chattering in the background – no perfection required. So this month make a pact to release the ideal of perfect action or a perfect outcome and create stillness in your life on a daily basis to take inspired imperfect action to achieve what it is you desire in your classroom and in your life.


Postscript: As I type this my 5 year old daughter is watching a fairy dvd where for 5 minutes they’ve sung a song about “Princess Perfect”….oh the irony. Gee, I wonder why we all feel we have to be perfect?!!!! Time to eject that dvd (or fake a black out)!!