Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Poorly

A comment from Renee Quistorf on the November 22 post, Holiday Attitude Shakeup, got me thinking. She mentioned something she was told by a therapist, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” Initially, I tried to grasp what the therapist was really saying, or what it might mean to me. In some circles, I am probably known as a perfectionist⎯yes it’s true! Now, perfectionism is another topic for another time, but hold on to that thought. Let’s just say I am aware of this particular issue and work hard at accepting what is⎯as in it is what it is. Nice how I worked that in, huh! Continuing on…

So, considering doing anything poorly was not on my radar. Poorly brings up words like badly, inadequately and unsatisfactorily. Those are not words a perfectionist brings to the table. Then it hit me, are you good enough? Now, that is a question I have asked myself many times over the years, and my answer has always been⎯YES, damn right I’m good enough!

I’ve always loved participating in various sports. As a kid I knew I wasn’t the best, but I was good enough. The teams I participated in didn’t always win and I didn’t necessarily cross the finish line in first place, but I was good enough. I was reminded of this as an adult when asked to compete in team triathlons when I was in my thirties. I swim laps in a pool⎯I’m a swimmer. Put me in the water and I just go. The owner of the gym I worked-out at was putting together a team for a local triathlon competition, and asked if I would be interested in the swim leg. I had never done anything like that and wasn’t really sure about swimming in a sea of people. The distance was not a problem for me so I told him, “I’m not fast, but I’m steady. I won’t necessarily be in the first group, but I won’t be in the last group.” As I stood in a mass of humanity at the edge of the lake I heard myself saying, “What was I thinking?” As the gun fired, off we went. I was slapped, kicked and swam-over. I lifted my head to get my bearings and saw that most people were not really swimming at all. So I stuck my face back down in the water and slapped, kicked and swam over as many people as possible. When I finally made it out of the lake, there were a lot of people left behind me. In the end, the team I was on finished in first place! Not too shabby for “good enough,” or perhaps I felt it was something worth doing whether I did poorly or not.

Renee’s comment reminded me how far I have come since my triathlon days. I am accepting who I am and whatever I do⎯even if perfect doesn’t enter into it. I still hear the sound of fingernails on a blackboard when considering the word poorly, but good enough works for me. Being good enough has allowed me to try the unknown, swim through a mass of humanity and step off that cliff and fly. In the end, at least I tried. It is in the trying where we get out of our ruts, it is in the trying where we learn more about our potential and ourselves. Being good enough allows me to simply be. How about you, are you good enough? If it is worth doing, is it worth doing poorly? Think about this…one man’s poorly may just be another’s infusion of light. Thank you Renee for reminding us of this.

© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010
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