Sometimes, It’s Just About Doing the Work

Recently, I’ve grappled with a very large and looming reality— that sometimes the best intentions in the world; the perfectionist proclivity; the desire to squash every challenge — are in vain. Sometimes, the work itself is simply enough.

I think the desire to please and exceed expectation can be more self-serving than externally beneficial. In the process, we can lose sight of the simplicity of the task at hand, and over-inflate our contribution.

It leads me to beg the question — what would happen if I challenged “my normal?” What if I pulled back just 10%? What impact would that have on the bottom line?

It’s not easy being the person who over-promises in every area of life and only over-delivers in some. That is the outcome of perfectionism. You want the world to believe you can do it all, but you can’t — and you won’t — because you’re not a robot or Hillary Clinton.

I struggle with accepting my shortcomings and limitations; that I’m human and therefore inevitably going to mess up sometimes; I’m going to upset people sometimes; I’m, in some areas, going to be an absolute disappointment.

And that acceptance alone would remove a lot of the pressure I put on myself; the importance I place on doing better than “good enough;” the self-imposed, deep-seated notion that my value is directly and wholly dependent on standing up and out…

Sometimes, the work is the thing that should shine. Not because it’s delivered before the clock strikes 6pm, or because it looks pretty with all the bells and whistles, or you added an extra sugar-coated graph on top.

No one really cares about the extra graph. No matter much how much you tell yourself they do. They just want to see the work. The moments you do shine will be less base line expectation and more “value added.” The mistakes are also less extreme when they aren’t the polar opposite of the norm. They’re just another degree of human.

I can extrapolate this idea to cover a wide range of things…

Like wedding planning

And healthy eating

And social outings

And relationships

I’m preaching to the choir when I say — Ladies, ladies, ladies…we don’t need to be everything. Accepting our limitations is ok. Standing up and not OUT is ok. Taking breaks and moments for self reflection is ok. Taking a Xanax or sipping a glass of wine to relax is ok. Not winning employee of the month and mom of the year is ok…there’s only so much people can juggle; only so many moving parts people can manage without losing track of the important ones.

When I think about the things that truly matter to me…none of them involve accolades and titles. The things that matter involve people in my life who don’t care what I do. They only care that I’m present. That I’m healthy. That I’m happy. And that they matter.

We all need that. Want that. Deserve that.

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