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Good Enough is Perfect

I cannot think of a single woman I know who isn’t juggling way too many responsibilities, carrying a crushing load of stress, and battling a constant stream of unwelcome distractions and unexpected developments. It’s enough to make anyone want to throw in the towel, and yet, we still want to do and be the very best we can.

I have been having many conversations with Lisa Berry about this lately. How do we accomplish the things that matter to us, plough through the things we don’t always want to do but are important to us (cooking for Lisa, working out for me), and get through our immense to do lists while retaining at least a smidge of grace in our demeanor? After many conversations, we got it: get clear on our priorities and aim to fulfill them 5 out of 7 times.

Getting clear on what really matters is perhaps the key. I am all about introspection and I often journal. Yet, when I sat down to make my list, I found it difficult to accept that certain things were not on my list of priorities. I had to face some truths about how I feel about some people and what I really think about certain activities. I then had to decide whether I want to renew my commitment to them or not.

Once I had my list, I took it one step further and clarified with myself how I want to express those priorities. For example, as spending quality time with my children is one priority, I decided to have phone-free evenings with them. As nutrition is another priority, I looked over my son’s school lunch calendar and crossed off the days when I want to provide a healthier alternative.

Having a clear list of priorities felt like having a clearly marked map showing the way forward. It felt like a huge sigh of relief. Equally liberating was deciding that I am not aiming for perfect. I am aiming for very good. This means that I get a pass 2 of 7 times/days.

Since I committed to reducing my waste, I have been taking my own reusable bags to the supermarket and buying as much as I can in bulk or in glass containers. Last week, I got back from a trip and was heading out on another a few days later. I had a 40 minute window to go grocery shopping before picking up my son at school. I forgot all my baggies, which meant I used at least 30 plastic bags between the bags I used for produce plus the grocery bags. I will return them to the store for recycling, of course, but as I loaded my bags into my trunk, I felt a twinge of disappointment. I then took a deep breath and remembered: “aim for 5 out of 7, good enough is actually perfect,” and I relaxed. So long as I don’t take my eye off the ball, it’s OK if I have a couple of strikes.

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