Good Enough

When is good enough ok? When can you give yourself permission to settle for something that isn’t your absolute best? I read a comment in another post today that reflected on seeing oneself as the eternal student; always open to learning, new experiences and growth. This means that there is always knowledge to be gained that will make you better.

So when is good enough ok? Not when it means always settling for mediocrity without aspirations of greatness. Ultimately, your goal is to become and to create your best.

Good enough is enough when you become so burdened by the process, that you lose site of your ultimate goal.

I recently found myself consumed by the technicalities of a couple of projects. I was buried under minutia and for a while, I had no idea that I was drowning. Except, I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t happy or enjoying the process of writing. In fact, I was writing less and less as I got more involved in the intricacies of what I was trying to accomplish.

So I finally said, ENOUGH!

I realized that my attention and finest efforts needed to be reserved for the creative aspects of my writing. The rest would have to be good enough the way it was. For now.

Good enough is enough when the process is as important as the end product. Committed to the role of the eternal student, and still early in my learning, I have accepted that some of my early creative efforts have not been masterpieces. But, I am learning valuable skills about the craft of writing that will make future endeavors better.

Some of my stories are good enough for me, but probably not good enough to get published. (OK, definitely not good enough to get published.)

So what does this mean? Well, when I entered my medical residency, my skills were good enough for me to see patients under the supervision of a more experienced attending physician. My skills were good enough for me, as a trainee, but not good enough to run a clinical service on my own. Now, I have been seeing patients in my own practice for years and I feel very confident in my skills to provide good care to my patients. And I am still learning.

Being good enough in the moment acknowledges that getting better is part of the process, which means you have to know when you are not ready for Prime Time. In fact, not recognizing that you are not ready can be a dangerous risk.

So sometimes I write just for me. I write to exercise those mental muscles that will help me to become a stronger writer. I write so that at some point, the stars will align, I will know that I have created something good. And I will be right.

Good enough is enough when you get to that point when you lose perspective on what you are creating and are unable to let go. Some people make the mistake of never believing that they or what they create is good enough. Becoming mired in doubt and second-guessing yourself can be the greatest obstacle to your success. This is different from recognizing the need to revise and working with a piece until it is the best that you can make it.

At some point, you have to trust that you will create something that is ready to be shared. You have to reconcile with the fact that perfection is a myth and not worth chasing. At some point in the creative process you have to stop.

Let go. It’s good enough, and maybe it is great.

How does failing to recognize good enough limit you from becoming great?



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6 responses to “Good Enough

  1. Kwame

    You are so right. It is a good thing for me to remember as, at times, I get bogged down in inconsequential minutiae.

  2. Excellent post! It’s like when people say “when I get there, I can…” No. It’s good enough. And we are there already 🙂

  3. “Good enough is enough when the process is as important as the end product. ”

    Amen. I too often forget this, that the journey is just as important a part as the getting there.

    Best of luck as you “reinvent” your writing!


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