How To Find Confidence In Imperfection + Book Giveaway

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This week I've been interviewing guest experts for my upcoming Simple Self-Confidence Course, and I had the pleasure of meeting a truly amazing and beautiful woman, Karen Walrond.

Karen hangs with the likes of Brene Brown and Oprah, but she is a down-to-earth, beautiful spirit whose mission is to celebrate something we all have in common — imperfection.

Karen is a photographer, a writer, a speaker, and as she says on her award-winning blog, Chookooloonks, she is “wildly convinced you're uncommonly beautiful.” She is so convinced, in fact, that she published a book of imagery and portraiture, combining written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful — and may even be the source of our superpowers. The book is called The Beauty of Different: Observations of a Confident Misfit.

confident imperfectionFor my confidence course, Karen and I spoke a great deal about being different, having imperfections, and the impact these things have on our self-confidence. But Karen turns the traditional notion that being different is “bad” on its head. She believes, as I do, that our differences and our perceived imperfections are what make us unique, authentic, and interesting.

It is our imperfections that bind us to humanity and make us more approachable and connected with others. In fact, instead of allowing these imperfections to hold us back, they can actually be a source for building self-confidence. I am so excited about sharing her beautiful message and insights in my course.

In the meantime, I would love to share Karen's message with you in her 2012 TED talk in her hometown of Houston. You will love what Karen has to say.

tbodcover3lrKaren has graciously offered to give away three signed hard copies of her beautiful book, The Beauty of Different: Observations of a Confident Misfit.

Please make a comment below about how “being different” or how your imperfections have impacted your self-confidence (either positively or negatively), and we will choose the winners from your Tweets,
FACEBOOK shares and comments below.

If you have any questions for Karen, she would be delighted to answer them in the comments as well! Thank you Karen!


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 16 comments
  • Ron Clendenin

    Thank you for featuring Karen on your blog. Her message about our uniqueness is so uplifting.


      This video was a great reminder to look for the light within each of us. This focus is why I use the word Namaste in greetings–‘I bow to the light within you connecting with the light within me’.

  • Sean Guico

    I love this post. Thanks for reminding the readers that imperfection is beauty. Though i knew this, sometimes i do forget.. And reading this have brought back my confidence

  • Chris


    What a thought provoking video.

    I am a fan of viewing TED on line , but very often the impact of watching these presentations is like hearing a great sermon on Sunday, but by Tuesday, the key messages are forgotten because of the distractions of day to day life.

    Karen’s presentation really hits you at a visceral level, but in a positive way. I have no doubt that her messages will stay top of mind way beyond any Tuesday…

    Thanks for sharing.



  • Rebecca

    You are a godsend! Your positive emails come to me just at the perfect time in my life. I’m back in college, in my 30’s, and struggling with imperfections. Adult acne, depression, anxiety……the list goes on. Your posts help me live my life to the fullest, each and eveyday. Thank you for being amazing. Thank you for helping me love myself again. Keep up the great work! xOxOxOx

  • Shannon

    Wow, what a simple and eye opening concept. Tonight, when I am looking in the mirror, instead of looking for all the ways the flaws detract from the whole, I will instead try to see them as cracks, through which my light shines out. If we could get everyone to view the world this way, we truly could change the societal definition of beauty.

  • yannis

    Being different is such a headache sometimes but other times is a relief too.

  • Mina

    Living with and managing PTSD, I sometimes feel like an alien. It’s definitely been a blow and a setback to my self confidence, as I struggle with my responses to everyday life, my identity and who I am post-trauma. The good part is, I’m often able to identify and connect with others like me, almost like a sixth sense. Also, I try to be open and educate “normal” people on it.

    Thank you, Karen and Barrie =)

  • marla

    It’s funny how when we were young the worst thing that could happen to us was to stick out or somehow be different than those of our peers. But now I’m happy to say that I am not particularly interested in being like others. Yes, it’s true, there are many ways that I do aspire to be like others who offer wisdom and navigation but I feel such freedom when I “zig” as others “zag.” Since joining 12-step support groups years ago and deepening my understanding of what it means to have character defects and the importance to accept my own shortcomings, I’ve learned that many of the “defects” I’ve awoken to are not what I expected them to be. They are parts of me that I can accept advantage whether it be in humility or in accepting the same “defects” that I share with the rest of the human race. Embracing all the traits that I once believed needed to be fixed, has allowed me lots of spare time and a freedom beyond any conception that can be put in this comment box.

  • Jeanene

    I loved her talk. Her book looks wonderful.

  • Val-Ami

    I was diagnosed with Lichen Planus in 2009; an autoimmune condition which affects about 1 – 2% of the world’s population. Yay – Lucky me.
    The rash was unsightly but it subsided and I was left with severe hyperpigmentation all over – worse still on my legs. Having had chicken pox and knowing how fast my skin healed, I thought I would give it time. It’s been 4 years since then and I have had another bout of the rash. So far I have smashed 4 mirrors in anger at my reflection, broken up with a man who still adores me because I didn’t want to deprive him of someone normal :S (though other reasons played ) and in the early stage of the condition, had someone refuse to hug me. I have also lost count of the number of times I have cried myself to sleep because I look .
    I have since had another boyfriend and broken up with him; that break up did a double number on my confidence. Anyway, quite recently I decided, I wanted to be happy. There is so much more to me that I have had two people adore me regardless of my skin. So everyday I try to be positive and grateful for what I have. A great job, an amazing personality (I work very hard at being the best person I can be) a family, friends etc. I work out and have a great body to show for it (or in this case, to not show – I am ever so grateful for opaque tights). So far so good. Some days it is a struggle and I have to remind myself that it is alright to have bad days. I have started flirting with this guy I like which is a step on its own; though despite obvious signs he likes I retreat slightly because I don’t think I could handle it if he rejected me because of my skin.
    On the plus side, I try to be glad for the experience as I am aware of the things that are most important in life. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to talk to my friends about it but I have a wall that is so high I cannot imagine climbing down from it totally. Nothing warms my heart more than encountering someone who has experienced teh negatives of perceived imperfections – it’s a kindred spirit thing that is very rare to find. I recently met this woman at the gym with obvious psoriasis plaques and I thought it was kick-ass that she didn’t care. Knowing that I am not sure why I hold back but little by little I hope.

    Thank you Barrie for this article and bringing this to light.

  • Dee

    Who would have ever thought it would be so difficult to just “be yourself” and value yourself. Such a relief to finally admit I’m part of the human race of imperfect people all of whom are subject to the human condition.

  • Jennifer

    Love Karen’s inspiration and affirmation. Love the stories she tells. Thanks for the feature!

  • deborah

    I firmly believe that the so-called imperfections in the physical body are simply a stereotype of society. we are all unique and special and just see how certain specific traits of a person can be transformed into a particular detail, such as the nose of the opera singer maria callas. physical appearance is not important, health and the well-being of our body is.

  • emily

    In middle school I was labeled a “nerd”. I don’t think my self-confidence ever fully recovered from the stigma that I wore for 7 years before moving away to college.

  • Stephanie

    I spent my life moving around – and I happen to be taller than most ladies and have bright red hair. It was really hard to stand out as the tall new girl while being a shy person, and it took me through my college years before I realized I had more to offer than just being the new strange thing. But I’m in my late 20s now and see the gifts that all those moves have bestowed on me. I do my best to share them, and I’m grateful that something good has come out of my years of painful awkwardness.

    By the way, Karen, I named the cliques at my school – they were either Friendlies or Unfriendlies. Kind girls won awards in my book even when I was 10yo. Best of luck to you and Alex (and Marcus!) navigating the waters of adolescence.

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