Good enough – what does that mean and why do we use it so much? I say it myself a thousand times a day it seems. When I talk to my sons,
“Well, your room isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for now.”
“If that’s the best you can do on that test, then that’s good enough.”
I also use good enough in my own self-talk.
“Few would attempt what I’m doing so what I’m doing is good enough.”
“I’ve got so many things going on, that this is good enough.”
Sometimes we get caught in perfectionism and good enough is a needed release, freeing us from getting stuck on being impossibly perfect and never moving forward, but sometimes that’s not it.
The Darker Side of Good Enough
A few years ago I landed a job I was thrilled to have but that was also very difficult. The material was difficult. Support was not great. My commute was long. At the same time, I was still running SingleMomSmiling and raising five boys as a single parent.
I was overwhelmed and something had to give.
As with many women, the first thing to slide was me. I was teaching high school math. I loved my students and wanted the best for them, and I needed that paycheck. I couldn’t put my job on the back burner. I loved reaching out to other women affected by abuse, divorce, and single parenting and felt called to help bring people back to the faith. No way could I turn my back on what God was calling me to do. And of course I loved my boys. No further explanation needed there.
But how could I fit it all in? I was doing all I could but in many areas all I could wasn’t really good enough and things needed to be cut back. The only area I could really let go of was me. My workout routine became walking the kitchen triangle each night as I grabbed the box of macaroni and cheese from a cabinet, dumped it into a pot on the stove, and poured heaps of yellowish-orangish-powedery-I-don’t-know-what on top of overcooked noodles.
Something had to change.
I began looking for a better job and eventually found one I loved close to home. I worked hard to make changes and make things to fall into place!
I missed my former students, but I loved my new students too. SingleMomSmiling gained followers, and many people reached out. I began writing the books that had swum in my head for years, hoping to provide encouragement, and the message of accountability and God’s love and forgiveness. At home, I went deep organizing and purging clutter. Bills were paid on time, and my checkbook was balanced eliminating anxiety of the financial unknown.
Best of all, I had more time for my children! For the first time in years, we had time for homework and stories and board games, basketball in the driveway and faith. Gone were the boxed mac and cheese nights (to my 12 year old’s dismay!) and I began cooking – really cooking! Real meals became part of what the kids expected as we sat around the dinner table and had loud family conversations only a mom and five boys can have.
Life was good, and I sometimes sat back smiling and saying to myself, “This is good enough,” but I knew it wasn’t. I had to work on me too. There was no escaping it no matter how hard I tried.
Leaving Good Enough Behind
I started a weak workout routine, telling myself I was easing into it, but I knew I could do more. I have a cousin I adore in law enforcement who had showed us some of his workout routines a few years earlier. They were intense with results to be proud of, but I wasn’t willing to push too hard. What I was doing was good enough though right? Yet, I wasn’t happy with my results.
I had to face the fact that my weak routines and excuses weren’t good enough after all.
I accidentally found a first Friday 100 Burpee Challenge and thought, “I could do that!” Six burpees in, my thighs burned, and I wanted to quit, but I pushed through. I was so proud of myself!
When I finished, I checked out youtube videos of others who had done the 100 Burpee Challenge too but discovered some had taken on the challenge, not just once a month, but every day for a year. I sat up. Was once a month “good enough?”
I knew it wasn’t.
Good enough had become an excuse for being less than I was made to be. I began doing 100 burpees a day and my cousin’s workout routine (which sometimes includes additional burpees too – ugh!!!). Many times I was tempted to quit, but pushed just a little further…
Half way…just make it half way…
You’re half way. 65 is passing on a test. You’ve got to at least pass!
Would you be happy if your son just passed? No! Bring that to a mid 70!
70 isn’t great either. You’re capable of grades in the B range.
You got the 80, but 90 sounds so much better.
Why would you stop at 90 when 100 is so close?
I’d talk myself through until I reached my goal, but it would have been very easy to stop at 50 and say, “Most people aren’t getting this far. I’m above average” It would have been easy to stop at 65 and say, “Well, at least I passed!” It would have been easy to stop anywhere on my way to my goal and say, “I worked hard and accomplished more than most. That’s Good enough!”
But I wouldn’t have accomplished what I set out to do.
I’d fall short every time using the good enough philosophy.
And that’s what most people do. They start out on a path. Then get sidetracked. They may even have the end in sight, but something comes up. Whether it’s a bump in the road or an interesting detour that leads them permanently off track, most people will get so far and then cash in their dreams never realizing their potential. The urge to quit is for some reason often more powerful as we get closer to our goals.
Don’t quit. Don’t change course unless you have a clear, well thought out reason for doing so. Don’t get tripped by the bumps in life’s roads and refuse to get up again. Don’t get caught up in pretty sights along the way and forget why you got on the road to begin with. Be accountable or find an accountability partner who isn’t afraid to pick you up when you fall, to pull you back to the path when you wander off, and to keep pushing you to your goals.
If you think good enough,
is good enough,
that’s all you’ll ever be.
You were created to be more!
Don’t settle for good enough!
Join me on the path to not settling for Good Enough again!
To find out my thoughts after completing the 100 Burpee Challenge, visit my new YouTube channel, and don’t think visiting is “good enough!” Reach for more and subscribe while you’re there! Haha!! 🙂