23 Apr Your Work Is Good Enough. You Are Good Enough
Personal growth is held in a delicate balance between ‘the good enough’ and ‘the best’. Your capacity to hold this balance can mean the difference between being a dad or being a present dad; dominating others or inspiring others; building an empire or transforming a nation.
Our culture has become overly proficient at handing out labels for the best fashion photographer, the best piece of steak in town and the best song of the year. There is a reason why no one’s ever won the Oscar for ‘good enough screenplay’. However, in the process of curating, promoting and awarding what we deem best, we have strong-armed ‘good enough’ to the back of the queue, where it is now often confused with mediocrity, compromise, average or just ‘meh’.
This performance-driven environment produces frazzled people who stumble through my doors each week, buckling under the pressure, unable to say “Enough!”
It’s about more than the labels
On a deeper level, the phenomenon of imbalance may be pointing to a deeper question:
“Am I good enough?”
In an attempt to prove our goodness, we find ourselves frantic and overworked with perfectionist self-criticism. Or, on the other end, hiding behind perpetual procrastination and shame. Never clear on how much is enough, we oscillate between over- and under-performing as we try to find our feet on a precarious sense of personal worth.
It is much easier to say you are the best runner, than to believe you are a good mother.
Don’t drop your standards, expand them
When faced with this conundrum, we tend to fall into a trade-off trap:
“I will either succeed in my career, or I have time for my family”
“I will either become the best musician, or I move back in with my parents.”
Though it may seem like a sensible approach, this binary thinking dismisses many nuanced options. It is entirely possible to be a good enough manager, who enjoys his work and has a loving relationship with his children. It is also entirely possible to write a good enough novel, that will be enjoyed by many fans, and pay the bills.
If we get too caught up in winner-takes-all thinking, we lose out on so many rich opportunities and choices at our feet.
The balanced, expansive life, requires a broader perspective and thoughtful consideration of our values. It may be the road less traveled, but it the road worth traveling.
The good enough letter
I also struggle to sit down and create something. I put pressure on myself, thinking that whatever I create, will need to be the most unique, special, and even transcendent work. I feel the pressure of comparisons: noticing other ‘better’ writers, ‘better’ coaches and ‘better’ friends. The pressure may not go away, but when I step back and re-orient to the truth of my own inherent goodness, I remember that I too, have a gift to offer the world.
This letter is how I remind myself that what I do, and who I am, is enough, and good enough to share, and to remind you:
Your work is good enough.
You are good enough.
- If I take my foot off the pedal in one area, what will I be able to spend my extra time and energy on?
- Where am I striving for the best, at the cost of a good enough alternative? On the long run, what is the true cost to love, happiness, health and my soul?
- If I stop striving for excellent achievement in this goal, how will it affect my self-image? Am I building too much of my identity on this one success?
- Where in my life can I replace the ‘best’ labels for ‘good enough’ labels? How will this transform my work, my relationships, my health and my soul?
Do you struggle to find the balance between hard work and good enough?
We all need some help to do this kind of work well. Schedule a free discovery call to learn more about how I can help.