“To play something fast can be easy. To play something slowly can be really hard. To play without a mistake is almost impossible.” This quote by Uwe Kruger, my musical mentor, is a powerful conceptual note around how we go about our business every day.

Let’s spend a minute with the closing phrase: Without a mistake is almost impossible. Perfection is a tall order! Playing a musical piece perfectly or being the perfect parent, brother, sister, friend, partner, boss, or associate is in fact usually out of reach for most of us. It’s almost impossible to be the perfect __________ (you fill in the blank).

Is that all that this is about – simply knowing that we’re going to make mistakes? It’s part of it, but I believe there’s a deeper message here. I believe it has to do with self-forgiveness. Most of the people I come into contact with in teaching and coaching are far gentler with others than they are with themselves.

Forgive – to grant pardon; to cease to blame or feel resentment; to excuse, absolve, release

We’re all guilty to some degree. The message here is to simply be kind to you. Play a bit in life, and realize that in the end, it is still a game. It isn’t life or death. Without a mistake is almost impossible. Don’t worry about perfection in leading others; just let your work life bring you some joy. You deserve it. You’ve earned it. Forgive yourself. Grant yourself a personal pardon. Take your work seriously – it matters – but then let it go and play!

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