That is the simplified way of wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy. This is also the foundation of my work to bring Heart in the Boardroom. In my keynotes and sessions, I put a lot of emphasis on embracing our messy, imperfect selves.

Because I strongly believe if we can find the courage of looking our imperfections in the eye, we are also able to feel more compassion and less judgmental of the natural flaws of others.

Courage comes from the French word Coeur, which means heart. In a simplified way, wabi-sabi can be described as thinking of celebrating natural imperfections and seeing a certain beauty in that imperfection.

The wisdom of honouring the authentic beauty of the unusual and accepting that nothing is permanent in life. It is the same with people. I always gravitate towards people who have endured. I instantly recognize their suffering and feel empathy for the cracks caused by their painful journey

You may have heard about Kintsugi, the repairing of cracks in ceramics with gold.

In Japanese culture, you can find Kintsugi art (“golden repair”) – which is the art of repairing broken ceramics with gold powder. This resonates with me as to how I look at people. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, reviving it with a new life.

This way of repair celebrates the unique history of each artefact by emphasizing its breakages, cracks, or even missing parts instead of hiding or disguising them. Sharing our unique histories and our ‘human cracks’ in a team at work, in a group of peers, or in a golf team is extremely powerful. And transformational. Realizing that we are not the only ones fighting a silent battle or doubting ourselves. Experiencing the true story of each team member is glueing a team at a deeply personal level. Imagine what conversations like this will ignite the heart of your golf team! We must learn to be brave to share what is really going on in our lives and what hunts us at night.

Recognizing certain beauty in the imperfection in others is accepting the beauty of our own.

It is my purpose to create such safety in a group or in personal conversations, where people finally find the courage to come out of hiding and let down their armour. The feeling is often described as liberation and eye-opening.

How often do I see women in golf, hiding behind their armour? They show up at the tee box anxious to fail. It is blocking a relaxed team spirit and it takes the fun out of the game due to excessive pressure and unrealistic high expectations.

Embrace the fact that you are nowhere near perfect

Show up at the 1st tee box with the purpose to have fun and to enjoy the company of other lovely perfectly imperfect women. They might not be there yet mentally to lift the heavy shield of armour, but you are!

Monique Landman is the Chief Empathy Officer and the founder of Unchain People & Change. It is her purpose to bring her heart into the boardroom and unchain humanity in organizations.

Her motivational talks and empathetic leadership programs take her to clients around the world. Monique loves to play golf and many of her clients in South Africa are examples of golf industry excellence. She and her husband have shared a passion for South Africa since 1999.