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What Do You Notice? Flaws or Fabulousness?


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A few years ago a colleague of mine nominated me for an HR Leadership Award for Greater Washington.  I was really honored and thought we’d have a lot of fun hanging out at the receptions, doing some networking and attending the awards dinner together. 

When they called out my name as a winner in the Emerging HR Leader category I was really excited.  I walked up to the stage to get my award and had my picture taken with the other winners and presenters. It was a great night. 

Unfortunately, one of my memories that is still sticking around from that experience is of the picture, where we’re all smiling, and I look fat.  Flaws or fabulousness, I think you can tell what I was noticing.  

What Do You Notice? Flaws or Fabulousness?

When your child asks:  Are you proud I cleaned up my room? 

Do you respond:  Yes, but I think you could have done better.  

When your spouse asks: Do you love my manicure? 

Do you respond: It’s nice, but did they mean to only paint half of your pinky? 

When your friend asks: Great shirt! Where did you it? 

Do you respond: I like it too, but it’s already starting to fall apart.  

When your boss asks: How’s the team doing? 

Do you respond: Good, but we’re still working on improving our results.  

When your team member asks: Are you happy with the edits? 

Do you respond: It’s better, but I’ll take it from here.  

When your colleague asks: Will you be attending the annual conference? 

Do you respond: I thought about it, but I hate the location.  

How Can You Focus Less on Flaws and Embrace More Fabulousness?


All of the responses above have a word that shuts out true positivity and brings on the flaws: but.  But dismisses, qualifies and belittles everything that you say immediately prior.  The next time you’re tempted to qualify your statement with a “but,” bring on an “and.”  Even if “Yes and” is not new to you, use this as a reminder to bring conscious awareness to the words you’re using.

Yes AND  

> builds on possibilities 

> celebrates accomplishments 

> puts aside judgment in favor of appreciation 


When you’re feeling in the dumps, hyper critical of yourself and others, gratitude is the way to ditch the stress and embrace the goodness that’s present, yet remains hidden.   


This one is really easy to say and a little harder to do: Look for the good.  As humans, we’re often drawn towards the dark side.  Flaws leap in our face and fabulousness may be hidden beneath the surface.  A little like Where’s Waldo, you need to know where to look and keep looking until you find it.  

Choose Your Mindset: 

Nobody forces you to see a fat person when you want to see the smiles.  As humans, we have the power to change our lives and thoughts. Carol Dweck’s research tells us that awareness of when we’re slipping into a fixed mindset (nothing will change, this is as good as it gets) can be a trigger to instead choose a growth mindset. 

Be Aware of Cognitive Dissonance:

Cognitive Dissonance is holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time.   When you’re feeling anxiety, do you look for reasons to justify your feeling?  Of course you do, yet it does not make those reasons true…. they’re justifications to relieve your mental stress.  

Read Your Inner Subtitles:

Imagine that you were able to watch a replay of your last hour back on TV – with subtitles to share your inner thoughts.  Those inner thoughts are often more telling than the words you speak.  

You may say: Everything’s good.  

You may be thinking: Don’t look too closely. 

Catch yourself and change your inner dialog. 

Tell Your Saboteur to Take a Hike

Is your saboteur blocking you from the light and pointing you towards all of the flaws in your life and leadership?  The saboteur in all of us is often described like a devil on your shoulder.  Are you stressed out that your saboteur may be right? 

Do this NOW: Tell your saboteur to leave you the *bleep* alone.  Tell your saboteur to pack their bags, move on out.  It sounds silly, but it actually works to free up some positivity and fresh thinking.  

Flaws or fabulousness come down to your way of seeing the world.  Your perspective. Taking intentional actions to shift your way of seeing will also shift your way of being. What you notice is up to you.

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