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Why Good Enough is Better Than Perfect

Librada Estrada

Japanese path editAna and I have been blogging about being a powerful Latinaputting yourself first, and being enough. For a moment I let the idea of perfection related to all of these concepts overwhelm me. As I pondered these concepts, I realized that I needed to embrace where I was at that moment and use it to fuel me. As Brené Brown wrote: “there is power in our vulnerability.” So, I am sharing about where I am right now. As I formulated the blog I intended to write, the weight of deadlines and the physical state I was in left me feeling uninspired and overwhelmed. What can I write that sounds pithy, engaging, and will have me looking like a rock star blogger? Sigh…nothing comes to mind.

I don’t feel inspirational, confident, healthy, or organized. Have you had a moment or day like this?

Today is turning out to be not about shining but about being in survival mode. It’s about not letting the perfect get in the way of the good. It means letting go of the idea that I have to be all things to all people/projects all the time.

What I am reminded of is that no matter what, I will have days where I feel challenged mentally and/or physically. No matter how positive I try to be, how focused I am, something or someone--a series of either--may throw me off. I can choose to either let that derail me and keep me down, or I can get up and work with what I have. Maybe something in between.

It is in these moments that I can reframe what I define as success or as the outcomes that I am trying to achieve. There have been many instances where because I have been the only Latina or even the only person of color, or due to expectations that I thought my family and others had of me, I bought into the story that I have to go above and beyond, that I am not allowed to make mistakes, that I have to be perfect. Have you told yourself this at some point?

I have recognized that by focusing on perfection I am more likely to stagnate, not honor my values, and not live a fulfilling life. I risk living a life of what if.

When I have been open to possibility, wiling to be vulnerable, to saying that this is good enough, I accomplish more. I am still concerned about what others will say, that there may be mistakes and that I may fail.  But,  I move closer to my goals because I take action.  When I let go of perfect I get things done.

A few ways to not let the perfect get in the way of the good:

  • Accept that perfection is a myth—We have bought into this idea because of all the pressures that we let run our lives, or because of the stories that we have chosen to believe. Once you recognize and accept that, despite your best efforts, perfection isn’t real, then let it go.
  • Name and embrace fear—We are all afraid of something and, many times, are not clear on what that is. Identify it-failure, of showing that we care too much, being too emotional, rejection, being alone....Knowledge is power and once you name it, you can embrace it because it is no longer unknown. Use that information to fuel you forward.
  • Find champions—Lately I have been pushing myself to try things outside of my comfort zone. While I may think that I am not doing as well as I could be, others champion me and remind me that even though I may not be where I want to be, I am a step closer because I took action.
  • Learn from failure—There will be instances where you won’t succeed. Rather than let that stop you, learn from your mistakes and see things as a trial run on your road to success.
  • Prioritize—We have a way of pressuring ourselves to think that we have to make the entire thing (project, event, etc.) perfect, or that all things are important to the same degree. Identify what truly is a priority and focus on that element.
  • Redefine success—Recognizing that perfection isn’t realistic, redefine what success looks like for you.

Your turn:  What do YOU do to not let perfection keep you from action? Leave a comment.

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