One of Marilyn Monroe’s famous quotes is, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” When we think about the characters in film that we’re drawn to, it’s not the perfect one; it’s the imperfect one who is living a very human life, who is on the heroine’s journey.
And yet, so many of us strive for perfection. And that striving for something that doesn’t exist stops us from living an extraordinary life. Imperfection is one of the sexiest things about you, and in this podcast, I hope to convince you of just that.
Bonjour and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I'm Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I'll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let's dive into today's episode.
Hello, beautiful people. Welcome back. And if this is your first time joining the French Kiss Life podcast, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.
So, where do I want to start this podcast? You know, there’s so much goodness happening in my life right now, and it’s a lot. I was looking at my calendar recently for the next year and I immediately started to have overwhelm and panic mode. It’s the same thing that used to happen when I was overweight and I would think about all of the weight that I needed to lose and I would instantly go into overwhelm and do nothing.
And what I’ve learned is a much more elegant and graceful way to approach our lives is to have those dreams, have those plans, but always come back to this day, always come back to this moment because this is all we have. So ask yourself, what can I do today to take me one step closer? What can I do today to support my dreams and my goals?
And if you keep doing that over and over, you’re going to create results in your life. So don’t get caught up in the unnecessary drama. Just show up. Just show up for this day. Like, that is my whole mantra for this entire year; just show up today, Tonya, that’s all you’ve got to do.
But yeah, I’ve got a lot of fun things on the agenda for this year. So tomorrow, I’m actually unplugging for four days and I’m going to one of my favorite places on the planet, other than Paris. And that is Lake Powell. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but definitely put it on your bucket list because it is so beautiful. It’s like being on Mars but with water, and the water is warm, unlike our mountain lakes that I’ve been freezing in all summer long.
So I am looking forward to that, and then I come back for a few days and then I head to New York for a week where I’m going to be working on some fun projects. And from there, I come home for a few more days, and then I head to Europe for almost two months. And while I’m there, I’m going to be doing one of my favorite things that I get to do every year, and that is host the French Kiss Life Experience, which is in Paris.
It’s my retreat that I do every fall with the most incredible group of women. And the women that are coming this year, just get prepared to have your mind blown. Seriously, I want to go on my own retreat as a participant because it’s going to be that good.
So yeah, that’s what’s happening. And also, I don’t know if you heard, but I’m writing my book this year. It’s happening. I’m super excited. But I’m also creating a digital experience to complement the book. So if you want to learn more about that, you can go to frenchkisslifemasterclass.com. But basically, I’m bringing a group of women along on a digital journey as I travel the world this year sharing the concepts of French kissing life, those concepts that have literally changed me from the inside out.
So yeah, that’s what’s happening in my life right now and it’s actually a great segue into today’s topic, which is all about imperfection is sexy, because one of the things that I love about how I’ve structured my year is that it’s going to require that I let go of any leftover perfectionistic tendencies that I have dealt with for a long time.
Like probably so many of you all, I am a recovering perfectionist, and what I love about creating a schedule that excites you and that fills your heart and yet equally scares you is that it does require that you get over yourself, that you get off your high horse of trying to be perfect all of the time, and you just show up and you play your heart out and you do the best you can and you share from your heart. And when you do that, you just can’t go wrong.
And so, if you’re interested in learning more about overcoming imperfection, make sure you stay tuned for the rest of this podcast because I’m going to share my beliefs with you around that. But now, it’s time for a Community Spotlight. This is the part of the show where I highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle.
And Today’s spotlight is on Lola Sue. She left a five-star review on iTunes where she said, “French kiss this podcast. Say oui-oui to the most excellent podcast by Tonya Leigh. With her signature flair, Tonya helps you cultivate a Chanel mindset, a Fendi perspective, and a big Birkin energy, no matter what your life or your bank account looks like. Her podcast always grounds me and reminds me that choosing the simple elegant and ease-filled life is always the way to go.
I love how she reminds us to get back into nature and that Gore-Tex can be chic too. I know that there are so many podcasts out there, but Tonya’s is truly the crème de-la crème and every episode is like a stunning rose of insight in a bouquet of brilliant advice. Love her, can’t get enough.”
Lola Sue, I love you back and I love the way you write. I loved your analogies and your metaphors because you know I love me some Chanel and Fendi, and even though I don’t have a Birkin yet, I do appreciate it. But I also love the luxuries of our everyday life that don’t cost us a thing, like nature, like appreciating a beautiful sunrise or a sunset.
So thank you so much for that beautiful review, I really appreciate it. And hey, listen, if you enjoy the French Kiss Life podcast, I would appreciate a five-star review from you as well. You can just open up your iTunes app and click on the podcast, and somehow, someway you can leave a review. Or if you want better instructions than I just gave you, you can go to frenchkisslife.com/itunes and we have step by step instructions on how you can leave a review. And I thank you so much in advance.
Yes, imperfection is so sexy, and that’s what we’re talking about in this podcast. I am so, so excited to share with you my thoughts and beliefs around imperfection and why I think we should all embrace it. And I have many stories around this topic, but the one that comes to mind is, first of all, I love horses and I love working with horses. I’ve actually hosted some equine coaching workshops.
And what I love about working with horses is that horses read energy and they can sum up whether you are aligned and whether they can trust you because they’re looking for someone that they can trust. And so, the first time I ever did any kind of horse work – and keep in mind, I grew up around horses, so I feel comfortable around them, but I hadn’t been around them in a while when I did this workshop.
But I was in the pen with the horse and the exercise was to actually send the horse off, and then, when you are ready, to ask the horse to join up with you. Now, keep in mind, the horse is wanting to know, can I trust this person? So for me, I sent the horse off and he was running around the pen, and then when I was ready, I just dropped into an energy of, “Okay, I’m ready for you to join up with me.”
And in that moment, I was having fun. I wasn’t attached to the horse showing up. I was just really enjoying the exercise and immediately the horse joined up. I look over my right shoulder and there’s this big beast right behind me. And suddenly, because people were watching, I felt like I had to put on a show. I felt like I needed to be perfect at it. And I had a thought, “I don’t know what to do now,” and yet I had the appearance of trying to have it all together, and immediately the horse sensed it and ran away.
Now, I think back to that moment and what would have been a better way of being. And it wasn’t to be perfect, but it was to embrace my imperfection, to embrace all of me and to be okay with it, and that’s what the horse was looking for; someone who is okay with themselves, their flaws, their mistakes, who they are. And to me, that’s what embracing your imperfection is all about.
And that is so sexy. I mean, really think about it, have you ever been in a room with someone who’s just so comfortable with who they are? They’re sort of a hot mess, but they are okay with it. And you’re like, “Wow, I wish I could be more like that.”
And the truth of it is, we all can, but we’re going to have to let go of this façade. We’re going to have to let go of this belief that in order to create an incredible life, we have to be perfect, because that’s not true.
If it was, I wouldn’t be living the life I’m living right now because I tell my clients all of the time, I have days when I cry all day. I have days when I just can’t seem to get it together, no matter how hard I try. I have bad hair days. In fact, I’m having one right now.
I wake up in the morning with stinky breath just like any other human, and yet, there were so many years where I tried to hide that part of myself, where I tried to have it all together. In fact, one of my favorite stories about this is when I met my best friend for the first time.
We were in Lake Tahoe and it was in the middle of winter. And she was driving a rental car and she hits black ice and she said all she could remember is the whole time, as calm as day, I said to her, “Keep it together, girlfriend, keep it together.” And that was always how I had approached my life.
I always felt this pressure to keep it together. And although on the outside it appeared as if I were doing a really good job, on the inside, I was falling apart because no one can experience that kind of pressure for an extended period of time without it showing up in their bodies, in their spirits, in their emotions.
And so she looked at me after that a few days later and she was like, “You know what, Tonya, you don’t always have to keep it together. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to be messy. It’s okay to not be perfect.” And everything within me wanted to resist that. I was thinking, “But no, I need to be perfect. I need to prove myself. I need to be worthy.”
And that is the problem. The problem with perfectionism is because we have these beliefs that we are not enough as we are. We have these beliefs that we have to seek approval, that we need to be a certain way in order to be loved.
But when I started to do the work on approving of myself and seeing myself as worthy, no matter if I have stinky breath or I’m late to an appointment or if I bomb onstage, I’m still worthy. I’m still good enough. I am just a human having a human experience.
And what I can tell you all is that the more I have embraced that, it has given me the confidence to show up and to fail and to be okay with that. Life is so much more fun when you don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. And it is also so much more sexy because it means you are a woman who owns all of herself; not just the good parts, the parts that you like, but also the parts that you’re like, “Yeah it’s not the best but that’s okay.”
And the really interesting thing with all of that is that when you start to take the pressure off, there’s space for more creativity. You’re actually more productive and you start creating results in your life.
Recently, one of my ladies in the French Kiss Life community, she reached out and she’s like, “You know what, Tonya, you have given me so much permission to just go out there and do things and be okay with it not being perfect,” because she has seen me grow. She has seen me send out emails with typos and their wrong graphics and all the things. She’s seen me have tech challenges on my calls.
But the difference is, I don’t really now make a big story about it. I’m like, this is part of the process. This is all about learning and growing, and I keep showing up. So when anybody looks at my life and they say, “Wow you’ve created so much success,” a lot of times they think it’s because I’m so good and I’m so perfect. And actually, the opposite is true.
I’ve created this success because I’ve embraced my imperfection. I don’t let it stop me. And this goes back to one of my favorite books by Carol Dweck called Mindset, where she talks about the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
The fixed mindset is definitely based on perfectionism. You don’t want to look back. You don’t want to fail. You don’t want to be in a position where you don’t know everything and so you avoid the very things that will help you grow as a human being.
However, with the growth mindset, you’re like, “Bring it. Bring me the challenges. Bring me those opportunities to fail. Put me in rooms where I’m the dumbest person in there because that’s the only way I’m going to learn,” and you embrace that. And that requires that you embrace your imperfection.
And what’s more sexy than a woman, again, who owns all of herself? She just shows up in a room and she’s like, “Here I am, with the run in my hoes, with this hair out place, having the time of my life,” because life is no fun when you’re expecting yourself to be perfect.
I mean, have you ever been, let’s say, at a party and you walk in and no one knows the other people and everybody’s trying to put on this façade of having it all together and being perfect. And it’s so stuffy and so much pressure in that room, no one is having fun, until the guy or gal walks in who is imperfectly perfect; you know the one I’m talking about.
They are just okay with who they are and they allow themselves to be free and they just walk in and they’re like, hey, everyone needs to chill out and let’s have a good time. And suddenly, it’s as if they are a breath of fresh air because they’re not putting on airs and graces, they’re just being who they are and they’re giving us permission to do the same.
And that is why imperfection is so sexy. It’s intoxicating. It’s magnetic because it’s truth. It’s people living in alignment with themselves. And when you are aligned with yourself, you are in alignment with your dreams, you’re in alignment with your goals, you’re in alignment with your highest good. Imperfection takes us out of alignment.
Another way to look at this – I think this is a great example. So, my dream is to reach a million women in the next less-than-five years now. I want you to imagine if I were a perfectionist, if I put so much pressure on myself to always get an A-plus on the paper, imagine how I would show up. The chances are, I wouldn’t show up that often because I would never think it’s good enough.
And so I would avoid feeling that discomfort. And then, as a result, I wouldn’t be able to get my message out there about French kissing life. But when I’m willing to be imperfect, I’m in alignment with my dreams because I’m just showing up, I’m sharing, I’m stumbling, I get frogs in my throat, I have typos, but I still show up.
Life becomes my playground. And here’s what you all have to know; I still have that little voice. I guess it’s the remanence of myself from the past that tells me, “Your work isn’t good enough. Your podcast sucks. No one’s going to like what you do. This book you’re writing, you’re going to get one-stars on Amazon.”
I still have all of that craziness in my head. And you know what I say? “That’s okay, it’s worth it.” I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be human. I’m here to share my truth. I’m here to share my message. I’m here to inspire women to French Kiss Life and that is not about perfectionism. It’s about playing full out.
And the only way to play full out is to drop the pressure of being perfect, to stop playing by other people’s rules. I was thinking about this podcast, for example. There are many people who I turn on their podcast and it is so scripted and perfect. I immediately start thinking, “Wow, I must be doing this thing wrong.” It’s like every word is precisely placed within the podcast.
And it’s beautiful, but it’s a standard that doesn’t feel right for me. I want to just hit the record button and go. I don’t like scripts. I like just speaking from the heart and letting it flow through me. And that is the way I like to operate in the world. But if I was trying to be perfect and follow the script, it wouldn’t be authentic for me.
Now, for some people, the script is perfect. That’s what they want. That’s what they like. That’s what they need. But for me, it doesn’t feel aligned. And so I have to give up the idea of the way I’m supposed to be in order to be who I’m meant to be. And who I’ve decided I’m meant to be on this planet is an imperfect beautiful human being who embraces life, who messes up, who fails and gets up again and who, at the end of her life, will look back and say, “You know what? I French kissed life.” Now that is sexy, my friends.
It is time for a J’adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. Now, at the beginning of the podcast, I was talking about how I’m going to be traveling a lot this year. And one of my favorite questions to ask about anything is, “How can I make this easier?”
So one of the ways that I’ve made travel easier is to become more organized, because here’s a confession; I used to be the most disorganized traveler you would ever meet. It’s true. I am talking hot mess disorganized.
And hey, that’s okay to be a hot mess, right? Imperfection is sexy until you’re ready to change it, until you realize you’re creating so much unnecessary stress and drama and overwhelm simply because you’re so disorganized, and that’s where I was.
I was looking at my calendar and realizing how much I was traveling and I was like, “Okay, sister, you need to get it together. You need to find a system that works for you.” So I’ve talked about my favorite luggage these days on a previous J’adore, and that is Away. And I really enjoy this company.
I think, at the price point and the quality, it is such a good deal. And in fact, I was just listening to the founder of the company talk about how she created the brand on the podcast called How I Built This. It’s a really, really inspiring story, so I highly recommend that you check that out. And if you want to learn more about Away, just go to frenchkisslife.com/away and you can see the luggage that I’m referring to.
But one of the other things that I have added to my travel wardrobe is a makeup organizer. Y’all, it changed my life, seriously. Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can have the biggest impact. But before my travel makeup organizer, I was that girl who had a makeup bag or a zip-lock bag that I would just throw all of my makeup in; my lip pencils, my eye-liners, my mascaras, my blushes, all the things, just throw it in there.
And you know what it’s like when you’re trying to find the brown eye-liner and you’re digging around and you’re pulling out mauve lip pencil and it takes you forever. It’s just not efficient. And this makeup organizer has changed everything.
It has a little pocket that you can stick your brushes in and your pencils so you can see clearly what you need to grab. And then, in the main compartment, it has different movable dividers so you can create different shapes to accommodate your different sized pallets or your powders or your foundations or your lipsticks.
It’s so much better than throwing things in a zip-lock bag; game-changer. And the way I do it is I have two. I have a large one that I keep at home. And so all of my makeup goes into the large one and I can just zip it up and put it to the side so I don’t have makeup everywhere. And then I have a small one that I travel with.
And I have two sets of brushes, so I keep one set in my at-home bag and then I keep a set in my travel bag so that I’m not having to constantly move things around. And then there are other things that I’ll just move from one case to the other.
But again, it’s just one of those little additions to my travel repertoire that has really enhanced the travel experience because it’s effective. It’s so much easier. You don’t have to leave stuff on the counter. You can just leave stuff in the case, unzip it, get what you need, zip it back. It’s just a lot more elegant than the previous Tonya, who had mess everywhere.
So if this sounds like something you would be interested in, just head over to frenchkisslife.com/makeuporganizer and you can see the exact one that I use.
Okay, my friends, remember, go out there and be beautifully imperfect and don’t forget to French Kiss Life. I’ll see you next week.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting FrenchKissLife.com/mindset – because after all, mindset is the new black.