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If it’s Worth Doing, it’s Worth Doing Poorly

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If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.

G. K. Chesterson

I did a double take when I first saw these words. I always believed that if you are going to do something, you better do it well. How many of us are paralyzed by this constant need for perfection?

They rang particularly true when I think about where we all start out from. None of us was born truly great anything. As I watch my 3-month old son learn to read my face and learn what makes him happy versus unhappy, I’m reminded that we all start from a relative nothing. We have to learn how to do things and that means we start off by doing them poorly more often than not.

Practice Leads to Mastery

We must practice and gain experience. Sometimes we must study and learn first. If we aren’t willing to do anything poorly, we would never be able to do anything well. 

It’s also true when we decide to make a change or create a new habit. How often have we all said we’re going to work out more? We buy the new shoes; we plan our routine and decide tomorrow’s the day I wake up an hour earlier and workout. And how often have we failed at it. 

It’s all in your head

Most often, the problem lies in the plan. We set ourselves up with an all or nothing mentality. If I can’t get a full hour workout in, it’s not worth doing. The reality is, if we started with just a 5-minute routine we would be far more likely to succeed. If the goal is to get on the treadmill for 5 minutes, then the goal seems so small it’s basically a gimme. Chances are you won’t have many 5-minute workouts because once you’ve begun, you’ll probably go longer but at 5 minutes you’ve already met your goal and that has profound impacts for the rest of your day. 

When we set our day up with smaller goals that seem easier to achieve, we set ourselves up to feel a sense accomplishment. I don’t have to tell you the difference between a day that begins feeling accomplished and a day where you drag ass to get going then barely make it through your tasks. 

A veteran I treated for PTSD once shared that he always made his bed in the morning, no matter how late he was or how crummy he felt. He shared that this one task was something he could achieve before he’d even showered for the day and if nothing else happened that day, at least he’d accomplished that. Here’s a man who struggles just to get out of bed and face the day and he had figured out the secret to creating momentum towards feeling more positive in every day.  

So, what are you doing poorly today, that someday you will do much better?

Check out some other posts to boost your motivation and learn more about leadership.