When I saw the headline “How ‘Good Enough’ Keeps Us From Solving Problems Like Climate Change,” I instantly clicked on it and instantly felt guilty.
For years, loved ones have told me not to be such a perfectionist.
“That is good enough, it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself.”
“Perfection isn’t possible.”
When the 80/20 rule became sexy, I finally felt like I had “proof” that it was ok to prioritize – if I focused on doing a great job in just a few key areas of my life and career, then “good enough” would be fine for the rest. In fact, it would be ideal, because I wouldn’t burn myself out and I’d have energy to spend where it counts the most.
This approach worked for me. Then one day, a manager suggested that I was letting the details slide. Just one manager. Just one or two off-handed comments that the manager probably doesn’t remember. My projects were being completed on time, my clients were happy with my work, and my coworkers frequently requested to work with me on accounts. But my manager noticed one area of my day-to-day work where I thought “good enough” was good enough… and she felt that it wasn’t.
I am proud to say this didn’t send me into a downward spiral of perfectionism. I spent some time thinking about it. I read a few articles like the one mentioned above. And then I decided that my good enough was probably still good enough in this case. The manager wasn’t wrong. I could have been more perfect and I can continue working on that over time. But I still felt confident that my prioritized were in the right order, and I decided that was the most important.
As I move forward with this blog, you can expect to see posts about good enough vs. perfect, prioritization, and what it means to be successful day-to-day. Because my manager wasn’t wrong, the author of “How ‘Good Enough’ Keeps Us From Solving Problems Like Climate Change” isn’t wrong, but we’re all human too.
How do you balance good and good enough?