Seriously...I don't know how to do this.
I grew up hearing, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." And then I had to find another mantra because there are so many things that I don't have time to "do right" or well, and so I just leave them...and the piles and clutter--papers, kitchen, email, physical, electronic--are enormous.
If something is worth doing, it's worth doing mediocre.
Better somewhat clean, somewhat tidy.
And so often, Something is better than nothing!
Just do the dishes for 10 minutes--they might not get done this time, but maybe they will, at least it's something. Just exercise for 10 minutes--doesn't matter that they say you need 30 minutes of heart raising cardio, 10 minutes is better than nothing! Just roughly sweep and mop the floors--a lot can be done in 20 minutes.
In my life at home, in my thinking and actions, I'm learning to create new habits--pursuing something less than excellence. And it is very good.
But what about work? And when you're the boss? Or even the employee. Aiming for mediocre is...doesn't quite cut it.
I was in a program--MAL--and in the first class I remember an activity that trained the thinking: "How can we do it better?" Maybe there were several activities with that emphasis. Good stuff. Believe me, I want to do better. I was born trying to do better, always looking for how to improve things. And my goodness, some staff, some of our young people, do need a serious kick in the butt to realize what it means to work hard and diligently, and with excellence.
Me...it's ingrained...I always look for what's missing, how it can be done better. So...a staff member brings a document, or prepares a lesson, or... and I instantly see how it can be done better. In the interest of saving time and meeting deadlines, I can jump right into the work of doing the editing, making the necessary improvements. But I'm realizing it can make all the effort spent to that point feel pretty worthless. Well, I do need to make sure to honour and recognize, and commend all that is good and great already, before making the suggestions. That helps. And...some suggestions and corrections are easy to make, easy to take. We shouldn't be too sensitive about it all. Believe me, they correct me lots too!
But when is it enough? When is imperfect okay? When is "progress" enough? Can I learn to celebrate earlier? Celebrate more often? Celebrate lesser results? What about a big flop? Failure--can we risk it? Can I risk it?
How much should we actually be pursuing excellence? How do we reconcile wanting to do our best, and yet not living up to our own expectations? How do we live in the reality that we will fail, even while it is not what we're aiming for.
Posted by Traveller on Tuesday, July 26, 2011