The Good Enough Blog Post

December 19, 2011

Photo courtesy Laure Ferlita
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of Good Enough. The painting trip to NOLA focused my attention on the concept as I created sketchbook pages that were far from perfect, but were “good enough” for their purpose: to help me remember a captivating place and group of people.

For me, that’s the biggest blessing: Good Enough is an antidote to perfectionism. How many times do we avoid trying new things, obsess over details, or become stalled by the idea that something must be Perfect, or even its cousin Really Good, before it sees the light of day? (I know this blog post could be better—I could spend hours “perfecting” it, but it still wouldn’t be “perfect.” I’ve already delayed posting it once because it wasn’t—you guessed it—Good Enough.)

The holiday season is a good time to focus on the concept of Good Enough. How easy it is to fall into the trap of searching for the “perfect” gift, decorating the house perfectly, cooking up delicious and special Christmas treats, and so on. All this on top of your regular, everyday life and its responsibilities! Frankly, that way lies madness and sitting in a corner, slugging down eggnog and biting the heads off gingerbread men on Christmas morning.

Good Enough can be excellent. Or it can be average. It’s not settling, but as author Heather Sellers writes, “It’s celebrating the truth. Good Enough means you know when to quit.” It’s up to us to decide what gets our time, resources and attention—and how much of those resources we are willing to spend. Everything we do cannot be Perfect. I’m sorry, but it just can’t be.

So how can we embrace Good Enough? By applying the three Ls:

Lower our standards. Don’t have time to cook an entire holiday meal from scratch? I know from experience that many grocery stores have really fine options for the harried holiday hostess. Can’t work out for an hour? Take a 15-minute walk. Something is better than nothing, and it will keep us in the exercise habit.

Laugh when things go wrong, or don’t quite come out the way we envisioned. Laughter is a better option than tears, and others are more likely to relax and go with the flow when they see that we’re not overly bothered by the unexpected.

Love the opportunity, love the process, love the result. Sometimes we (I) forget that life is an adventure, full of new experiences, not all of which will seem “good” on the surface. It’s all a process, leading to the result of a full, rich life.

And repeat after me: Good Enough is…Good Enough.

Has there been a time when you’ve embraced Good Enough and found the outcome was just fine, or even better than you expected?

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  1. Excellent post Kathy - certainly better than "good enough." I think many of us struggle with perfectionism, so it's good to remember that none of us is perfect and so perfectionism is really impossible.

  2. Very excellent post and very timely as well! I only have one make the statement, "Everything we do cannot be Perfect."

    Who among us is capable of doing/creating perfect?

    No one. Not one of us. That's what makes us human...and lovable!

    You know I practice what I call the 80/20 rule, but sometimes, it's more like the 70/30 or 51/49 rule. It simply means that if I can get it 80% right, the other 20% will take care of itself. And it does. It also takes a lot of pressure off....

  3. Thanks, Cheryl. So true that no one is perfect, and looking for perfection from imperfect people...well, that's not very logical, is it? :)

  4. Good point, phrasing was imperfect! I love the 80/20 rule. So useful in so many areas of life, and does take the pressure off.

  5. I love the idea of good enough.It is such a gentle way of accepting what is, and not going crazy trying to shape life into something "better"
    happy holidays!! (and thanks for all of the comments you've left at my blog)

  6. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Elizabeth. Good Enough does help remove the "crazy" from life a bit! It's my pleasure to visit and comment on your blog. It has such a positive message we need to keep hearing.

  7. What a great post, Kathy! I love your subject. It is really close to my heart, as the motto in our family is "Close Enough is Good Enough", but it means the same thing as you meant.

  8. Great little thing for me to think about, especially at the moment as all of my holiday to-do list is not complete. Maybe what I've done so far is 'good enough' and it is now time to relax and take it all in... Thanks for the poke.

  9. Krista--I like your family saying. It's more positive sounding than ours: Good enough for who it's for.

  10. Claire--Yes, relax, take it all in. I'm trying to do that myself--not just run around like a madwoman...

  11. So True. Good Enough IS Good Enough.

  12. Lovely post! I am very much guilty of not being happy with good enough and it can make you miserable, really. Wise words to end the year on and to try and achieve in 2012! Thanks!

  13. Kimberly--Easy to say, hard to put into practice...but I'm working on it!

  14. Danielle--You're welcome. Let's all try to ease up on ourselves in 2012 (hey, that rhymes!).

  15. Hi Kathy! Happy New Year! I love this post, and you are so right. I think that for perfectionists, this is a lesson learned with age. I am so much more able to go along with "good enough" these days. 20 years ago, I read a saying on at Mary Engelbreit card that said "Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best!" At the time, I thought, yes, that is right! Now I'm wondering if that way of thinking is cursed, lol! Hey, I'll be MIA for a bit, but wanted to thank you for your stopping by and leaving me such nice comments.


    Kathy M.

  16. Kathy--I agree. It's easier to relax the perfectionism as we get older. Maybe we start to see it isn't all it's cracked up to be!

    It's my pleasure stopping by to visit, and I appreciate your returning the favor too. Hope you're going to be doing something fun/exciting/productive while you're MIA.