On Purpose, or On Perfect?

Categories: Leadership,Noticing

Seattle skyline sunrise
Seattle skyline at sunrise


Each morning, even before I’m fully awake, I say to myself: “I intend to live my life on purpose.” Sometimes I even say it out loud. It means that I will strive to emerge into the day and be conscious, aware, engaged and purposeful in my actions and interactions, purposeful in my work and in my play.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about giving up the subtext I’ve probably been thinking for a long time: “I intend to live my life on perfect,” which, if I’m honest, has probably driven me, sustained me and propelled me to obtain many of my goals and realize many of my dreams. The thing that’s tough to admit, and I think this is true for many leaders, is that it may have indeed moved me, but perhaps not always moved me forward.

I’ll be the first person to extol the virtues of setting goals, identifying outcomes and there’s no one who loves a list to cross off better than I do—but how can I be fully engaged, fully focused, if I’m not taking time to slow down, look around, and notice the intricacies? How can I expect to lead others if I’m always rushing past at break-neck speed, four steps ahead of myself and six steps ahead of them? Why would anyone want to follow me to that crazy place? You do not have to be perfect; sometimes you just need to show up, be fully present and take notice. Often, that’s more than enough.




Libby Wagner
Author: Libby Wagner

Libby makes her home in a lovely West Seattle neighborhood in a house with turquoise walls and an amazing view of the Puget sound and Olympic mountains. A former Air Force “brat”, she continues to bounce from one corner of the world to the other, working with Fortune 500 clients, hopeful artists and authors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts and Poetry from Eastern Washington University where she also began working in the Writers in the Prison program.