The Magic of Good Enough
When I was growing up, my mom always used to say that things were “good enough,” which in my child’s mind was essentially just another term for “unfinished.” I can’t tell you how many projects around our house were started and ended up 50 or 65 or 80% finished, whether that was a home renovation, a creative effort, or just taking care of things around the house. I always thought it was just because she didn’t have the
motivation to finish things or care that they weren’t always done well. It was a habit of hers that drove me crazy, and it wasn’t until I moved into adulthood and started working with more clients that I had the realization that this was her method of just getting through the day as a stay-at-home mom with four kids to run herd on and a husband who wasn’t always present to pitch in.
Ironically, this has become the foundation of one of the central tenets that I now teach my clients in private practice; it’s important to show up how we can each day and recognize that every day is going to look different. Some days we are at 100% and others we top off at 10 or 25 or 50% and that is just the reality of being human. Every day is different and there can be several factors playing into that - maybe we didn’t get enough sleep or we’re in pain or we’re really stressed at work - whatever the reason, they all impact how we are showing up each day and experience the world around us.
Most people have heard of the saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I get the general idea behind this around wanting to develop skill in the things we are pursuing. I also think that over time, this saying ingrained in our societal view the idea that we should always be productive and find ways to capitalize on the things we’re doing, that we need to be perfect for things to be worth doing, that we always need to be grinding. I’m going to challenge that thought and say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”
I’ll say that again - ANYTHING worth doing is worth doing poorly. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s absolutely true. I really love this concept because it allows us to embrace our humanity and that we are all going to have good days and bad days. It has allowed me to recognize that I may not be able to show up at 100% every day, but every day, I can make the choice to show up rather than just check out and hide in my bed. By recognizing that however we show up is already more than if we had just decided to stay in bed, we start to see that just showing up at whatever our best is each day is a win. If all I have today is 50% and that’s what I show up at, it’s still more than if I had bailed just because I wasn’t at 100%. It’s all about meeting ourselves where we are at and showing up how we can and doing the best with what we have every day. When we can let go of our all-or-nothing thinking, we can let go of our fixation on perfectionism around only doing things if we can succeed and show up at 100%. We start to ask ourselves “How can I show up today?” We create space for us to show up wherever we are at each day, whether that is 10% or 100%, and accept that we have made our best effort using the resources available to us within that percentage. We give ourselves permission to be human with more realistic expectations and put down the burden of having to be the perfection we have learned to expect.
Practice being good enough today. Apply the motto of anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. And you’ll have achieved the magic of “good enough.”