It Can Seem Like Society Demands Perfection From Millennials. This Professor Thinks She Can Help

By Penina Beede
Hartford Courant

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lisa Wisniewski’s new book “Progress Not Perfection” is part memoir, part guided journal. It focuses on how millennials can live a more balanced life.

Hartford Courant

Lisa Wisniewski doesn’t want you to be perfect. In fact, her new book and accompanying podcast, “Progress Not Perfection: A Millennial’s Story,” say otherwise right in the title.

The 34-year-old assistant professor of sociology at Goodwin University wants to help 20- and 30-somethings live a balanced life in a society that demands perfection.

“I think that millennials are kind of missing a sense of community, or at least that’s the feedback I hear,” Wisniewski said. “So I wanted this to be a type of community building.”

She tries to empower readers of her book, which was released on Dec. 31, through her own experiences.

“It’s part memoir, part guided journal,” she said. “I’m only telling you parts of my life to help you relate or develop your own goals. Hopefully you’ll think, ‘wow, she went through this, I’m going through something similar.’ ”

Each chapter of “Progress Not Perfection” ends with worksheets so readers can create their own goals and plan how to achieve them.

“I want the reader to be creative with it,” Wisniewski said. “I set up the worksheets for writing, but if you want to draw over it, do it! I want you to actively use that book. I want it to look worn and torn and used.”

The idea for the book first came to Wisniewski in 2015 when she was studying for her doctorate in educational leadership and higher education at the University of Hartford.

“I was hearing a lot of people ask the same kinds of questions,” she said. “ ‘How do I balance everything? I’m supposed to work out, have an awesome career, go to grad school, become a student, do all these things successfully and still have friendships and maybe a significant other. How do you do all of this?’ I thought, there’s got to be some resources available.”

So Lisa began to write. True to the thesis of the book, though, she began to feel herself pulled in different directions while writing, and decided to step back and focus on school.

“I was like, ‘yep, when I finish my dissertation I’ll do it,’ ” she said. “That took another two years, and after I completed my dissertation, I got married. So, all these life events kept happening, and the book just stayed as files in a computer.”

It was Wisniewski’s husband, Peter Krzemien, who encouraged her to get back to work on the book.

“He said, ‘I think you really miss writing. I think you need to go for it,’ ” Wisniewski recalled. “He was right, and he was the right person to point it out to me.”

Lisa finished writing “Progress Not Perfection” in May of last year, and worked with her husband to create a blog to accompany the book.
But the progress didn’t stop there.

Lisa’s newest project is to extend her book to a podcast with the same title. She partnered with West Hartford Coworking to record in their new content lab, which provides multimedia equipment for entrepreneurs at affordable prices. The podcast premiered Friday.

“What I’m so grateful for with that journey is that I got to chat with people,” Wisniewski said. “I got to see what their needs were. The original book concept morphed into the book that’s needed, not the one that I thought was needed.”
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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