February 2015

Be Impeccable

Satisfaction Comes from Genuine Effort

Behaving impeccably invites excellence and allows for the correction model.

Our interactions with each other have to be impeccable.”
Chris Browne

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

The notion of being impeccable is vastly different than attempting to be perfect. Whereas perfectionism brings out self-critics and put-down artists, behaving impeccably invites excellence and allows for the correction model. If I speak or act in a way that is less than I want for myself, and my focus is to be impeccable, I can catch myself, apologize, acknowledge what I've done, and then do a take two. In that way, striving to be impeccable leaves me lots of latitude to make mistakes and right them.

If you've been following the Sally and Donna saga, you know that Sally is a perfectionist and she is critical of everyone around her who is not. She has little or no ability to look inward and has shown no evidence of being able to self-correct. Though she is intelligent in terms of her IQ and her analytic ability, her emotional IQ is lacking as is her interpersonal and social IQ. Donna, on the other hand, strives for impeccability. Let's rejoin each of them now...


Sally has just completed a meeting with James, her head hunter, who told her about a position that is of interest to her.

Immediately, knowing that she has an option, Sally feels lighter. She is relieved that she will be able to leave this crazy zoo that has gotten under her skin in the most irritating of ways. She can't wait to be on the other side of this experience.

“But how am I going to tell my boss, Tom?” Sally thinks out loud. “What in the world should I say before I bag another job? Oh my.” Sally's head starts spinning and as fast as the relief came in, it vanishes. Her jaw tightens again and she soon feels her jaw aching. She's grinding her teeth.

Sally drives home on remote pilot, all the way thinking of how she will deal with Tom. Before she gets home, she decides that she'll tell him that her daughter is having difficulties and she wants to be there for her daughter. That will require several months away at least. She's relieved again. She's happy with her story. She can easily say that the issues are personal and she would rather not discuss them. Since Tom has not met her daughter, she could say anything and he wouldn't know if it were true or false. She relaxes again, thinking “Whew! Got that one down.”

Sally walks into her house and calls to her husband, Larry. He yells 'hello' from another part of the house and she can hear his footsteps coming towards him. Sally is pouring herself a glass of wine as Larry walks in.

“You look like something the cat dragged in!” he blurts out as he begins to hug her.

Sally pulls away and with a sharp tone says, “I'm in no mood for your humor. James has a position for me and tomorrow, I'm telling Tom that I have to leave since Carolyn needs me to care for her.”

“What's wrong with Carolyn?” Larry asks.

“Nothing, you idiot,” Sally retorts with exasperation in her voice. “That's what I'm telling Tom when I meet with him in the morning so he doesn't think I'm leaving because of his crazy workplace.”

“Why not just say it isn't a good fit?” Larry asks.

“Then he'll start asking me questions about what doesn't fit,” Sally snaps. “And I don't want to answer him.”

“Why not?” Larry queries. “Someone should tell him that it's a crazy work environment. Maybe no one else has the courage. What do you have to lose?”

“My reputation,” Sally responds. “He could start telling people that I'm whacked or not...I don't know. I just don't want to talk about any of it with him. He isn't going to ask if I tell him my daughter is having problems. He'll just express sympathy for her and us. Now, let's go to dinner. I'm famished. I haven't eaten all day. My nerves have been on edge. I finally feel okay now that I know what I'm going to say.”

Sally and Larry chatter about all kinds of nothing as they leave to go out to eat.

While Sally and Larry are at dinner, let's look in on Donna...

Donna has just been asked to join a newly formed team for a special project and has received public acknowledgment. Though she feels a bit shy and overwhelmed by the positive expressions of this group, she is flooded with warmth and good feelings. Her heart feels so full, like it is bursting in her chest. She just can't believe how lucky she is.

Donna listens eagerly. She is like a sponge, learning about the projects that other divisions are involved in. Reticent to ask questions, she takes notes about the items that she doesn't understand. As the meeting progresses, her list lengthens. Her energy and attention stay fully engaged.

Lorin, her boss who is leading the meeting, asks the group to give feedback to those who have presented. Again, Donna listens with rapt attention as she hears her team members giving accolades as well as asking cogent questions. Lorin looks at Donna and asks if she has any feedback. Donna takes a breath and pauses.

Then, gathering her courage, Donna says, “I'm so new here and I'm learning so much. I just feel honored to be a part of the work that we are doing here. I thought the presentations were excellent. I have tons of questions but rather than waste everyone's time, I think it better that I speak with each presenter off line. I just want to thank all of you.” Donna flashes her warm smile and sighs with contentment.

Juanita, one of the presenters, says, “I would love to hear a few of your questions now. Perhaps others have the same questions but are shy about asking them.” Several team members nod in agreement.

Donna looks questioningly at Lorin, who says, “I think that's a great idea.”

Donna takes another big breath and looks through her questions.

“Okay,” Donna begins. “I'll address two of the projects that were discussed, both of which I know very little.” Then, in the rigorous manner that folks are getting accustomed to with Donna, she asks questions that address some of the core issues in the projects. The team answers them cursorily and says that they will come back to the whole team with a deeper dive. They thank Donna and tell her how glad they are that she asked her questions.

Lorin asks Donna, “Would you copy your notes and send us all the questions? I think everyone would get value from seeing them. Next week, we can focus on addressing all of Donna's questions. It will benefit all of us. And those of you who have unanswered questions about these projects, throw in your own questions as well.”

On that note, Lorin ends the meeting. The noise level goes up dramatically as everyone starts leaving and talking to each other. It is like a bee hive, full of positive energy.

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