Good enough. What a loaded phrase. It’s one that, even in the best context, always seems to carry a bit of negativity. There is an unspoken ending in my head, “but could be better.” This gives you a little insight into my personality and my expectations of myself. Being good with “good enough” is something I struggle with. Maybe it’s why I ended up with an engineering degree and spending most of my career around engineers. This is the group who will fix things that aren’t broken. We will keep attacking a problem until the solution is perfect or someone pulls us away. Yes, I know perfect doesn’t exist but try telling that to an engineer. There is always something we could be doing better.
As with everything in life there are two sides to this coin. On the positive side this translates for me as a constant state of self-reflection. It is a nonstop loop of review, improve, implement in my head. Nonstop. Which as you can imagine quickly turns into the negative side of this proverbial coin. Let’s spend a little more time on each side.
You have superpowers
Self-assessment and self-reflection are superpowers. They mean that we are taking real stock of how our actions and words impact people and the world around us. When we notice reactions and consequences that are not in line with what we wanted we look at the variables and figure out what we want to change. This ability to adjust and adapt is an important aspect of keeping your social acumen or emotional intelligence high. High EQ has strong benefits in the workplace and equates to improved career success.
If you’re a fan of superhero books or movies, then you know that every superpower used for good can also be used for evil. In the case of self-assessment, it can mean always assuming the variable that needs changing is you. That is when positive self-reflection runs the risk of turning into negative self-talk. Sometimes you need to know when it’s good enough. Remember perfect doesn’t exist, anywhere.
For example, as I’m writing this, and every blog, I walk away with a long list of questions. Even after I’ve declared it “done.” Is it long enough? Should I have more references? Why will anyone listen to me? I’m not an expert. Or when I’ve worked a group project it sounds like. Did I do enough? Everyone worked hard than I. did or put in more hours than I did. Am I dedicated enough? I hear the words of imposter syndrome in there as well.
Use your powers for good
So how do we tip the scales of our superpower to good? As you can see, I don’t have all the answers, but it helps me to practice awareness. I try to remember that my thoughts are not truths, they are stories I tell myself and I can rewrite my story. Lastly, and the hardest of all for me is I try to be done, sit with the discomfort and put it out there. After all, at the heart of this is a fear that my work, or I, will be judged inadequate.
I promise to keep being vulnerable and keep putting my work out there even when I want to keep working on it and making it perfect. Please join me in being vulnerable so we can go through this together. As we go on this journey together support other by receiving their work openly, warmly and without judgement. The world needs allr thoughts, ideas, creativity and contributions. You make the world a better place just by being in it.