The Imperfect Hello - Christine Kane

Do you ever have those times when you’re just plain really busy?

I do.

In fact, I’ve been there a lot lately with all the shifts and changes happening in my career, and all the shows and speaking I’ve done lately.

Now, here’s the thing about me.

I can be in one of these busy places, and yet I’ll find myself spending a good 30 minutes scrubbing the kitchen faucet with an old toothbrush or something inane like that.

Enter The Drill Sergeant.

There’s this little perfectionist Drill Sergeant in me that tries to keep everything on task and doesn’t want anything to go wrong. She knows that I’m such an “in-the-moment” person that it’s very easy for me to wander off on little activity tangents that often involve scrubbing things with old toothbrushes.

The Drill Sergeant means well, but she can get a little power-hungry…

“You have to leave for Albany tomorrow,” she barks. “You don’t have time to write that email!”

“No you can’t go out for lunch tomorrow! You have a phone meeting to prepare for!”

These busy times don’t last forever, of course. But when I have them, it’s important that I do stay focused and on-task, so I don’t mind a little help from the Drill Sergeant.

One day when I was in such a busy state, I thought of my friend Kathy. I thought of how we hadn’t really talked in a few weeks. I wondered what was going on, how her house sale was going, and how her law school applications were coming along.

I was just about to grab the phone to call her and say hi when I heard the Drill Sergeant remind me of my schedule.

She was right.

I had a flight the very next day, and a meeting with my accountant that afternoon.

So, I created a compromise.

I called Kathy.

When she picked up I said, “This is officially an Imperfect Hello. I know we have a million things to catch up on, and that if I were truly a good friend, I’d set aside an hour for catching up. I don’t have an hour. But I was thinking of you. And I’d rather say hello imperfectly than not say hello at all.”

Kathy knows me well, and she has several of her own perfection-seeking Drill Sergeants in her head.

She burst out laughing, and said, “Well, I’m so glad you opted for imperfection!”

We talked for about 3 minutes, and we both hung up smiling.

I’m writing this post today for two reasons:

The first reason is that many of you have your own busy lives.  I know it’s easy to put people aside because you’re holding out for a more “perfect” version of yourself, or for a few unscheduled hours of free time when you can really catch up.

This is your official permission to not be perfect.

Try the Imperfect Hello some time. I’ve used it a lot in these past two months.  It keeps you connected, it allows you to stay focused, and it builds your courage, too. (Besides, most people love the idea and will start using it themselves!)

The second reason is that I’m home this week catching up after two months of nearly constant traveling, and this is – as you might have guessed – an “Imperfect Blog post.”  🙂

  • Christina C.

    Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you…
    Now I’m off to briefly catch up with those I have been waiting for a perfect time to catch up with.

    I love these simple good ideas that we overlook sometimes…Thank-you again!

  • Mindful Mimi

    Oh you so hit the spot. I seem to be busy a lot lately too and I have that tendency as well to wander off doing something else. Like I’m on my way to do the long over-due laundry and on the way I see my pants that needed mending. So I take them upstairs to get my mending kit and I see the shirt I need to put on tomorrow and that needs ironing. So I take it downstairs and turn the iron on. I see the laundry again and put a load in the machine. Then I remember the pants needing mending and go upstairs again. While mending I remember the iron letting off steam downstairs and I rush down to see if nothing burned… And such activities can go on during the entire day. I seem to often get out of focus when I am busy. I make to do lists but can’t seem to get a focus in them either. 🙂 but I do accept the fact that I am not perfect and that nobody is. I just really really want to be 🙂
    Thanks for putting things in perspective.

  • Tracy

    How perfect a post. I have just returned from vacation, trying to catch up, and am doing that very thing! Thanks, Christine!

  • Tony Hogan

    Hi Christine

    This is not relevant to your post but I purchased the American Folk album and love your music. I posted about your youtubes as my blogs specialise in Acoustic Guitar and music I like, I share with my readers which is about 700 a day. So hopefully more people will get to enjoy your music.

    Regards Tony

  • megg


    This is exactly what I needed to read as always! I have been agonizing over my lack of time to connect with people – but you have given me the answer I needed!

    I also wanted to tell you that I have been reading your blog for a little while now. This is my birthday weekend and I am going back to one of your posts (from June 26th) to set my intentions for my coming year. Thank you so much for your continued inspiration!!


  • m

    this is an imperfect comment ! 🙂

  • barb b

    take a deep cleansing breath, you deserve it and an implerfect blog.
    take care bb

  • lilalia

    Years ago, I decided that I would not start every telephone call, email, or letter with an apology why I hadn’t called or written earlier. This imperfect hello of yours is one step up from that. For that I am very thankful. I also wish to send you an imperfect thank you for sending me (all of us) your wonderful new song a few weeks back. I’ve been putting off writing you because I wanted to honour all of your creativity and effort. Now I just want to say that I adore the song and I am looking forward to ordering your new CD.

  • B

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks for the kind birthday wishes – I had a truly lovely day and felt set up and supported for a healthy week. I am really enjoying practicing imperfection this way – thanks for posting your valuable insights – whether it takes 3 minutes or 83.
    Be well,

  • Marisa

    Following up on what Chris said, I think there is beauty in the imperfect hello to yourself. For me I get into a rut where it’s useless to, say, do any yoga because I don’t have an hour and a half to truly wring out my soul. Really, I just need to spend 5 minutes to wring out my hips.
    And as for spreading the hello love around – I am just realizing how it is INFINITELY better than long silences that sometimes never end. I think I have lost once close friends because I never gave even those few minutes to say “I’m thinking about you… just not with the most focused part of my mind.”
    Thanks & Blessings

  • Sherri

    This is a wonderful idea! So simple and yet, something I never really thought to do. I usually wait until I know I have time. I’m brainstorming all the ways I might implement an imperfect anything to get through busy days more gracefully. Thank you!

  • Fiona Purdy

    Christine you make me laugh! Thanks. I must go now… things to do you know – ta ta.

  • kathreen

    ahhhhh…yes. thank you and i will leave it at that. (even though my drill sarge is barking “make it long…make it thorough…express, explain, expound! blah-blah. HEE! K.

  • chris zydel

    Hi Christimne,

    I love the idea of the imperfect hello. I too, have been way too busy and have put off making those calls to dear friends because i don’t have the time for the deep soul to soul, heart to heart connection that is what I truly want. But then I get awfully lonely! So this is a brilliant compromise!

    And yes, I know about the toothbrush scrubbing. It’s just one of those things that happens spontaneously, is relatively useless, and is just so darn relaxing! And satisfying. Because it’s kinda sorta productive, but not really.

    Sometimes when I get this busy my inner drill sergeant tells me that we don’t even have time to meditate or other self care types of things, and if I make it an “official” meditation session, she starts getting on me and cracking the whip. But somehow, the toothbrush scrubbing happens in a zone that somehow doesn’t even register with her. Like if it’s not official, it’s not really happening. Very weird.

    But I do know that when I start doing those things it means that I am REALLY tired and need to give myself some real attention!

    Hope things slow down for you soon.

  • Gladys

    Thank you for this “imperfect” post. It was exactly what I needed. The day job has kept me very busy for the last week, and I miss the contact with some friends. So – tomorrow I’m sending out a few emails just to let people know I’m thinking of them.

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks for the additional “imperfect” thoughts everyone! 🙂 (Jannie – is that your drill sergeant? or a fun-lovin’ girlfriend who brings over the donuts?)

  • Michelle

    Thanks for the inspiration. Today I sent five IMPERFECT, “Let’s catch up” emails. Made me feel so much better. I appreciate the permission to be imperfect. It’s amazing how “permission” is so vital to so many of us. Have a great (imperfect) day!

  • Ari Koinuma


    That’s a great idea — I’ll definitely do that, at least a blog comment version of imperfect hello. I am wanting to stay in touch with a lot of people — but I hate to skim their posts — so I’ll use this. I’ll say “Christine told me to do it.” 😉


  • Mary Miller

    Ahhhhh, once again confirmation that I am not alone in the practice of doing everything that is totally unnecessary – in the midst of deadlines and responsibilities. Right now, watching my cat chase her tail has totally captivated me. Meanwhile, my prayers for prosperity have brought me five comedy shows to book and I SHOULD get on this….but Emmy Lou just looks so darn cute going in circles. My Drill Sargeant, Gomer Pyle (yes he has moved up in rank), has left the building out of shear frustration.
    The imperfect hello is perfect in it’s imperfection, as we all are.
    Thanks & enjoy your time at home.

  • Deb

    This is great reinforcement for me. I have a gazillion people to communicate my “news” to (you know which news) and I already know that many (most) will take that as an invitation to rant against said person and I don’t have the energy for it. And my action is about not having to have my time consumed with said person’s faults anymore anyway. So I have composed my speech and I’m sticking to it.


  • Lance

    Just a couple of weeks ago I connected briefly with a good college friend of mine, someone whom I hadn’t spoken to in several years – one thing led to another, we lost touch, he moved, I moved, and there we were – not having talked in a really long time. Well, really by chance, he stumbled upon me online – and we talked briefly one day. It was a short conversation (kind of like the imperfect hello, but that’s not where I’m going with this yet). Anyway, he followed up with a lengthy email, essentially catching me up with what had been happening the last several years in his life. And I’ve been meaning to reply. The thing is, though, that I think I need to write the very lengthy email about what’s been going on with me. And it just seems like it will be really long, and will take me a while to write it. And, life has just been really too busy recently. So, what have I done? Nothing. But what should I do? I could send him a short email, or maybe a series of short emails, as time allows. The imperfect hello… Yes, that IS what I will do!

    Christine, once again very wise words… (and to think, you consider this an “imperfect blog post)…

  • Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations

    Oh my gosh…guilty as charged…So…this is an imperfect comment just to say Hi…I’m still reading. I’ve read the last three posts and thought, boy, I have a lot to say about that and no time to say it, I’ll come back later when I have time to organize my thoughts. Then guessed it! Never came back!
    Glad you are catching a breather…Mine won’t be here until after Christmas!

  • Jannie Funster

    My drill seargeant recommends glazed donuts when the going gets really tough. Sometimes chocolate.

    Imperfect Hello a hell-o of a good idea. Thanks.

  • Irene

    I do use the Imperfect Hello!

    I put my Drill Sargeant on leave for the past few months. Now it is coming back slowly. Most of the time those Hello’s are the most perfect ones because there is always a giggle at the end of the conversation.
    Have fun this week. 🙂

  • Elaine

    I just love the idea of an Imperfect Hello!

    My Drill Sargeant is currently telling me to get off this blog page and get on with learning a course, work emails and packing! Trouble is I love wandering off with little activity tangents – especially if they involve my cats! This leads to the ‘P’ word: Procrastination – I’m an expert in this field!

    Enjoy your catch up week! 😉