In a world striving for “great” – accomplishing great things, being great at what we do and how we do it, when can “good” be good enough? While we’re all taught that the opposite of “good” is great and to not give 110% is settling and disappointing, there’s something that happens in striving for great. We lose so much of the greatness in who we are and we miss the opportunities of doing good, feeling good, and the present open doors to great things.
We’ve all learned a lot in these last two years and if there’s encouragement for you today, let it be the reminder that there are many times when good and okay are simply good enough and oftentimes they can actually be great.
Perhaps you didn’t do as well as you thought you did on the exam, you didn’t give a great presentation, you didn’t perform as an all-star parent today (raising a hand!), or you’re not quite feeling well…great, today. It’s all a moment in time, an imperfect moment in an imperfect world. Guess what today holds – a chance for grace and a chance for learning. Guess what tomorrow holds? New mercies, new opportunities, and a chance to do something different.
If you’ve found yourself feeling like all you’ve got to give is “good” these days and need some encouragement, here are four times when it’s actually good enough and maybe even great.
When you realize that our lives and stages are different
We live in a society struck by comparison and often feeling like we’ve struck out when we get caught up in the game of positioning ourselves relative to others. Yet, the truth is that the paths, waves, and roads of life open up for each of us differently. There’s a reality that comes with each season we are in. Maybe you’re caring for a parent, struggling financially, in a season of anxiety, getting married, raising toddlers, swamped at work or your health isn’t what it once was. Give yourself grace.
Yes, others might be killing it with their department goals, their business launch, their sales numbers, or their fitness levels and eating habits. But, where you are is where YOU are. And it is okay to be there. It’s a reality. It’s ok to be challenged and encouraged by others. Let it motivate you and maybe even challenge you. However, if what you’re doing in this quieter or perhaps busier season doesn’t seem to be living up to the “greatness” standards of others and their deliverables, I’m here to encourage you and say that here is where you are and it’s good enough for now. For now, go cheer them on and don’t miss what you’ve got going on. You’ll have your chance to shine brightly in due time.
When you acknowledge that productivity doesn’t equal greatness
In our culture, we’re taught to produce, work hard, and then hopefully you’ll arrive at a place of prosperity. Yet, prosperity and productivity do not have a direct correlation. Producing something, being productive, or having something to show for the work, thought, ideation, or effort you’ve put into something isn’t always reality nor is it indicative of great work you’re capable of a sign. The truth is that sometimes all you’ve got to show for all you’ve done today is that you’re still smiling – hey, a smile can go a long way!
I love the phrase “just enough” because I think that sometimes doing just enough (which might not mean it’s your absolute best but it’s the best you’ve got for today) is enough. If today isn’t a “10”, but it’s a “9”, I think it’s gonna be okay, right?! And you know what, maybe your “performance” is even an “8” or a “7”. You know what? Some days it’s just what it’s gonna be.
While I’d love to say that we can all give every day 110%, sometimes, well most of the time, that’s just not reality. We’re finite humans with finite capabilities and full plates most of the days. So give today the best that you have to offer it – whatever that looks like for you, knowing that if what you have to show for it doesn’t meet your expectations, or maybe even someone else’s, you gave it today’s best and that in and of itself is in fact great.
When it’s time to take a professional leap
I love the premise of Seth Godin’s book, Ship the Work, because sometimes it’s time to ship that work. This might be sending your proposal, resume, applying for that job, sending that prototype, launching a website with what you have, or putting out the product. Don’t sit on something too long waiting for that perfect time. You don’t want to miss the time that is now for the time that may never come.
Everything in life is beta. Everything is an iteration going on the next iteration. Do what you know you can do out there – say it, try to sell it, launch it, send it. And then, do the next best thing. See what worked and see what didn’t. Make a minor change or a big change. Try it differently. Then, see what happens.
If you wait until it’s perfect or meets your unattainably high standards, it’ll never happen. You’ll miss the opportunity when it’s prime for seizing! Seize the opportunities in front of you. Don’t spend more time thinking about what great would look like than you are in doing great things like taking a leap and “shipping that work”. We’ve all switched jobs, tried things, then tried them again differently. We’ve all had learning opportunities but in there lies the beauty – we’ve learned, we’ve grown. Don’t sit idle. Don’t wait for perfection. Put your best foot forward and let great lessons come along the way.
Most of the time
Let me be the one to remind you that your good is honestly probably far greater than you can imagine. Your “not so good” is probably also not so bad. Give yourself a mental break from all the pressure you’re placing on yourself. We’re all walking through this crazy world, trying to figure it all out alongside everyone else trying to do the same. Take the stress of perfectionism off your plate and perhaps it’ll help the world around you feel a little stressed at the same time.
Meet today with what you’ve got and with what it’s got for you.
So get out there and do good. Be good. Put out good into the world. Good can grow. Good can accumulate. Good can multiply. So if today, you’re not feeling so great – your parenting isn’t so great, your application isn’t perfect, you’re performance wasn’t magnificent. Just do the best you know how to do. We’re all learning. We’re all growing. We’re all in a different season and will probably be in another one tomorrow. Meet today with what you’ve got and with what it’s got for you. You’ll have the time to shine brightly when it’s your time to shine that bright. Until then, keep your fire lit by being kinder to yourself. Let your goodness be good enough for today knowing that great things and perhaps great moments are just around the corner.