Imperfect actions are better than none! 

When we understand that no-one is perfect we can see that imperfect actions are better than none! There is gold to be found in our imperfections and lessons to grow from. 

In this post I share some of my conservation shadows (shames and guilts – the things I dont want you to know about me) –  I hope by sharing this post that you can see that you can turn it around.  Whatever is in the past is exactly that – past! Instead ask yourself what can you do moving forward to create the change you want to see in the world and who do you need to be to get there?

Cherish Your Achievements

I have achieved a lot of things that I am really proud of and yet I often find myself thinking that I havent done enough. I took up kayaking in my 40s, becoming an Ambassador for British Canoeing, took part in ground breaking conservation kayaking expeditions and have been on teams who have removed over 10 tonnes of waste from our wild water environments. 

But I have to regularly remind myself of the things that I have achieved because, as a fellow human being, I spend a lot of time dwelling on the things I haven’t achieved, the mistakes I have made and the things I could have done better! As humans we are hard wired to look for negatives as evolutionarily – it helped us to survive!

A great exercise to remind yourself of the positives is to write out your achievements and stick them on the fridge to help keep you going in harder times.

We are taught what it means to be ‘good’ – but according to who and who says they are ‘right’?!

I also know that I can and want to do more! Practicing kindness and letting go of judgment is a constant journey that I am on and most of us face on a daily basis.  Although we know what our own perceived downfalls are we often hide these parts of us because we think they jade us in some way. 
 
In childhood we tend be taught that certain things are ‘good’ and certain things are ‘bad’ and that we ‘should’ behave in a certain way.  When we don’t behave as others have told us we tend to create a story that we are ‘bad’ and so hide these parts of ourselves as shadows. These are often fears and beliefs passed to us from our parents and other influential adults in our childhood. For a long time, I felt like an imposter in the environmental movement because I wasn’t what I thought of as a ‘good environmentalist’.  
imperfect actions
Brighton Beach  Clean

What is the issue with keeping parts of ourselves hidden?

There are several issues with this. Firstly, when we keep these beliefs inside they retain their power over us and manifest as fear, shame, guilt or regret.  The internal dialogue could turn into “I am not good enough”, “I am not as good as ‘them’” or “I can’t do X,Y,Z”. When we keep these emotions and parts of us hidden it is stored in the body as stress, impacts your immune system and affects how your nervous system regulates itself between fight and flight vs rest and digest.  Over time this leads to physical illness (see the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk ‘The Body Keeps the Score’), breakdown of relationships and just not fulfilling your potential.

It could also lead to inaction due to fear of someone seeing the shadow side of you and finding out the ‘truth’. These truths are constructed by you and form your beliefs – the great thing about beliefs is that we create them and so we can change them.

Often our fear is a result of being afraid of being judged by others – but I have news for you…. It isn’t their judgment you are afraid of – it is what you are making it mean about yourself! The thing you fear is how you will feel not what they will think, say or do.  And more news – it is none of your business what other people think of you! They can’t make you feel anything – how you feel is entirely within your own choice and control.

So what? I hear you say….

Ok so you may know me as a coach, an environmentalist, an ocean advocate and someone who cares about protecting people and planet.

What I don’t want you to know about me is…

As my Dad worked for the fossil fuel company Shell, I was brought up on oil money from one of our planet’s biggest polluters.  That meant that I had no idea about the environmental impact my choices have; or the impact the actions of these oil giants have until much later in life.  I had joined the corporate world, became a lawyer, was an over consumer on the hamster wheel of take use dispose and I dread to think what my life’s ecological footprint has been to date.

Another shadow – my fascination for ocean creatures led me to insisting we go to Sea World as a child. I actually remember being a bit disappointed about the experience but didn’t really have the emotional intelligence at 11 to understand why.  Looking back at the photos and knowing what I now know it breaks my heart to think of the cetaceans that are still in captivity around the world. Thanks to my insistence as a child – I am one of the statistics that supported the captive trade industry’s existence in the 80’s.  

If you aren’t aware of the concerns about the captive industry then you can watch the films The Cove, Seaspiracy and Blackfish all are on the popular streaming sites. Also follow the work of Incredible Oceans and The Dolphin Project.  The Orca featured in Blackfish was called Tilikum and I believe I saw him on my visit.  Sadly since filming Black Fish Tilikum has died in captivity.

When diving in Borneo in 2012, I heard the explosion of dynamite fishing and it shook me to my core.  I saw the devastation of plastic pollution in what were supposed to be pristine and remote marine parks and yet it still took 3 years until I swung into action to do anything about my personal impact on the planet.  And I still frequently buy more single use plastic than I  would like, am not vegan (although I am mostly vegetarian) and I still havent worked out what to do about my love for travel.

incredible oceans
Black Fish

Why am I telling you this? 

It is these shadows that we carry around in life that are often the source of our feelings of shame and guilt around impossible ideals of perfection and which form the basis of our fears.  We create stories around these feelings that prevent us from taking ownership and agency over our choices.  But by owning our shadows we take the power away from our fears. This allows us to move into the light, connect with each other and show up in a state of flow rather than stagnation.  When we understand that no-one is perfect we can see that imperfect actions are better than none!  There is gold to be found in our imperfections and lessons to grow from!

So instead of being afraid to show up as your fullest and truest self ask yourself:

  • What message were those shadows trying to give me?
  • What lessons are there to be learnt form those experiences?
  • What if I was supposed to have that experience?  If that was the case what can I do with the learning from it?

Now I know that the reason I can coach people who want to change or who aren’t aware of the issues, is because I HAVE BEEN THERE. My imperfect actions have taught me how to empathise with you!

This is now part of my super power.

I have been the person that is held back by imposter syndrome, stories of not being enough or knowing enough and I have worked through my fears. 

Now, I am on a mission to support eco-conscious people / ecopreneurs who are trying to make a difference but are held back by fear, self doubt, eco/climate anxiety etc.  I am here to support you to get out of your own way, to step into your personal power so that you can take your own imperfect actions. In doing so, you can learn and grow and create a life that works for you and our blue planet.

What shadows are getting in your way?

How can you take the power away from them and share your experience from a place of love and compassion?  What imperfect actions can you take in order to move forward limitlessly?

Please reach out if you would like support with this.  Nothing shocks me and there isn’t much I haven’t seen or heard or even said to myself – believe me! Head over to my testimonials page to find out what my clients have said about working with me or book a free discovery call here.