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Don’t Fix What’s Broken

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Amuse Bouche

My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business.

What do you call a magician who has lost his magic?


Like any other amuse bouche, you may have hated it, but it was worth every penny that you paid for it, right?

Goal Success by Choice

We can choose to be successful with our goals if we make the right daily choices, build the right habits and behaviors and adopt the right mindsets. Goal Success by Choice shares lessons about the choices we can make that can either move us closer to our goals or hold us back. I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.

Don’t Fix What’s Broken

Is it ok to let broken things stay broken or do they need to be fixed?

I found myself reflecting on this question recently after I listened to an awesome podcast.

Beautifully Broken

I am an avid podcast listener and there are many that I listen to every week. I am mostly drawn to leadership and self-improvement topics, but I also listen to some regular podcasts that help build running, coaching and writing skills. I round out my listening with a handful of podcasts that just make me laugh. In total, I am subscribed to about thirty podcasts, though not every one of them is active.

One of my favorite podcasts is the Write Now Podcast hosted by Sarah Rhea Warner. I enjoy this show because it talks about some practical aspects of writing combined with some of the mental and mindset aspects as well. Sarah does a good job of honoring the more holistic nature of what it takes to be a writer.

In a recent episode (Episode 124: Beautifully Broken with Sean Howard), Sarah and her guest introduced the concept of being “beautifully broken” as people. Here is an excerpt from the conversation that perfectly describes the concept better than I can.

What if we embrace that we’re broken? What’s wrong with owning this fact? What’s wrong with saying, “I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want those things that everybody has.” Different cultures have different pressures. What is the norm? What is it you’re supposed to do?

But what if I could shout to the world, “I’m broken, and I love it.”

Because if feeling broken is something that I don’t own, I’m constantly susceptible to being sold the next fix for whatever I’m feeling. On the other hand, saying, “I’m broken, and I’m beautiful, and it doesn’t mean that I am not amazing. It does not mean that I cannot get help or do things, but it does mean you don’t have power over me anymore to say.” And I’m talking to my other voice, and that voice in me no longer has the power to say, “Well, you have to do X.”  

I love this concept! Beautifully broken encourages us not just to accept our broken selves, but to embrace it as something that makes us unique. This is a very positive and self-affirming way to look at those things that we consider broken.

But it ain’t easy!

Why is it so hard?

This concept of embracing our brokenness is not easy because it goes against how we are wired.

Each of us is conditioned to fix things when they are broken. If you asked a random person to define the word “broken” you would likely end up with some version of the following definition.

Something that is not working properly and needs to be fixed.

Even our most over-used sayings imply the need to fix broken things. The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” also passively says that, if something is broke, you should fix it.

All of this conditioning means that leaving something broken just feels wrong. That’s why everything around us always gets fixed promptly, right?

Undoing the Beauty

What if we are the broken thing? Do we need to undo that beautiful brokenness?

I don’t know about you, but I can always find something about myself that is broken. Compulsively fixing broken things would mean looking at myself as always being wrong and needing correction. If I can’t let broken things stay broken, I will constantly be trying to fix myself.

Once we get into the fix-it mindset, it is very difficult to get out. There is a lot of money to be made from our brokenness and that is a big motivation to reinforcing those thoughts. The constant need to fix our broken selves has led to the development of a forty billion dollar (and growing) self-help industry.

Ironically, trying to fix our broken selves actually prevents us from living the life of our dreams.

Obsessive fixing doesn’t leave a lot of time for improving (see Defects and Enhancements). The energy we spend on trying to fix ourselves is energy stolen from achieving our goals. If we accept our beautiful brokenness and then focus our energy on the things we want to improve and on building the life we want to live.

Even worse, the need to fix what’s broken can actually result in taking no action at all. As I mentioned before, I can always find something broken about myself. If I sat down and cataloged all of the things I see as broken in myself and around me, the list could get huge. Big lists of broken things become overwhelming and give us that deer-in-headlights moment, we freeze. A surplus of broken means a lack of action means that we don’t pursue our goals and they die of loneliness.

We have a choice.

The good news about our broken selves is that we have a choice and choices are powerful. We can choose to be successful with our goals instead of getting overwhelmed by our brokenness, freezing and letting them die of loneliness. We can choose not to fix what’s broken.

The first step to choosing not to fix what’s broken is the same as the first step to living healthy, becoming a millionaire, becoming a better leader, or any of the countless other big goals we set for ourselves. The first choice that we need to make is to turn off the autopilot in our lives.

Operating on autopilot means that we just go with the flow, we accept our default behaviors and the results that come with those behaviors. Looking at ourselves as broken and in need of fixing is a default, autopilot behavior and is the anthesis to achieving our goals. Instead of autopilot, we can choose to be deliberate about our behaviors, to have a plan, to thoughtfully consider new information and events and to make controlled course corrections.

What does an autopilot-free, deliberate mindset look like with our beautiful brokenness? It starts with reminding yourself that not every broken thing needs fixing. Make this into your mantra every day. It doesn’t all need to be fixed and you don’t need to be the one to fix it.

Your “not every broken thing needs fixing” mantra will then become the lens through which you can view your beautifully broken self. When you encounter something in your life that is “broken,” pause to plan how you want to approach it. Ask yourself some tough questions before you take the next step?

  • What is this thing that I think is broken?
  • What is the impact on my life from this brokenness?
  • Do I need to fix it?
  • Do I want to fix it?
  • Is fixing this a “now” priority or a future need?
  • What is the immediate next step that I need to take if any?

Slowing yourself down to process and plan instead of just reacting will feel a little uncomfortable at first. This is how new behaviors always feel until they become habits. But, once your habit is being deliberate and autopilot is a thing of the past, this will begin to feel much more natural. The results will speak for themselves.

Are you broken? Yes, we all are broken, but we are beautifully broken. Like a fine work of art, our imperfections are what make us unique and increases our value. By embracing our brokenness and becoming comfortable with not fixing every broken thing, we can focus on our true priorities, achieve our goals and build the lives of our dreams.

Good luck fellow broken human and let’s crush some goals together!

Did You Like What You Read?

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Published inGoal Success by Choice

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