“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
We say that a lot around the office. Probably because we’re all a bunch of perfectionists brought together (strategically) for the common goal of creating something great. And we’re all constantly battling the desire to make something perfect – instead of just making something great.
Even with that statement, my bias reveals itself. Like so many others, I frequently buy into the idea that “great” is just that: great, but not perfect. And wouldn’t perfect be so much better?
Most companies are looking for people who won’t settle for less than the absolute best and who will work tirelessly to achieve greatness – both for the organization and for their own careers. And most people (if they’re honest) would really like perfect. Perfect is what many of us tell ourselves we should be.
And yet, perfection is an illusion because there’s always something more we can do, something better. We can never reach perfection, but we keep driving toward it, and that keeps us endlessly spinning and pushing and running. Continue reading
The eve of my 30th birthday was relatively quiet. I chopped rainbow carrots and kale in my little San Francisco kitchen. I did not turn on the TV or listen to music. I resisted the urge to fill the space with noise. Instead, I washed the kale and peeled the carrots. I minced garlic and stirred it around with olive oil and cumin and coriander.
I listened to the sound of the knife on the cutting board, and savored the aromas filling the room.
I reflected back on my day – how busy it felt, like I was moving too fast and yet not getting enough done. How I kept having to remind myself to slow down. As my boss would say wisely, “This is PR. Not the ER.”
I carried that purposeful slowness into my evening. Letting my body and mind rest after a day of post-vacation email pile-up. Not avoiding it, but not worrying about it too much either. Sometimes you just have to hug the slog.
Much like excelling in the workplace, cooking from scratch requires patience and a methodical commitment. It requires focus and time. And if you’re going to enjoy the process, it requires slowing down and being present.
This is the greatest truth I’ve discovered in my 20s. Slowness. Savoring. It’s the truth I want to carry into my 30s. The gift I want to give to others. Continue reading
This Part 2 in a two-part series on what practicing yoga has taught me. If you missed it, catch Part 1 here.
6. Let go. Being present on the mat requires letting go of anything outside of your mat for that hour. Your posture is not one of control and striving, but rather openness and malleability.
So often, I find myself having a breakthrough during class. My mind relaxes, and I receive an answer to a question I’ve been pondering or a conflict I’ve been working through.
Isn’t this so often how God works? When we let go of our preconceived notions of what He can do – or what we can do with Him – we allow Him to enter the spaces where we feel most weak and strengthen us. He always surprises me with His goodness.
But this first requires opening up to Him. Continue reading
Do you ever feel like there’s something rotten inside you? Like something has “gone bad” in your mind or heart – as though it’s an avocado you let sit out too long or a half-eaten loaf of bread you forgot about? It’s an unsavory discovery.
Recently, this “rottenness” manifested in the form of a generally cranky disposition. I was bumping into things and frustrated and tired and not feeling quite like myself – something was off.
Sweet James was the gentle observer of my frustrations. Over the past few years I’ve learned to not blame others for my frustrations quite so much, but it’s still a temptation. The opportunity to blame-shift and deflect my overall crummy feeling onto someone else has its appeal. But I’ve done the blame thing enough – sorry, Mom and boyfriends of seasons past – to know that any sense of relief I’d experience would be momentary and fleeting. Instead, I usually feel worse than before – because now I’m still frustrated and I’m feeling guilty and embarrassed about my juvenile behavior.
So, rather than get angry with James, I got curious. Continue reading
I’ve been avoiding writing. Mostly because I’m scared. Scared of writing the wrong thing, scared of what people might think, scared that all this work may be for nothing. It wasn’t always this way, but the farther along I get in the process of writing Enough, the more feedback I receive. And the more feedback I receive, the more I remember just how hard creating is.
So I come up with all sorts of things to do instead of sitting down at my computer and typing out these words. So many tasks beg for my attention. They call out to me and entice me to enjoy them now and put off the hard work of writing until later. I’d much rather sit down and read a book or whip something up in the kitchen – like the pumpkin spice granola I just had to make last night. The granola is delicious, and I’m greatly enjoying my books, but when they come between me and writing, there’s a problem. Continue reading
As some of you know, I’m writing a book about recovering from a life of performance and perfectionism. Subscribe here to get early access!
Writing is a lot like running. The hardest part is often simply getting started. Before I go for a run, I sometimes pause and try to rationalize my way out of it.
Do I really want to go out in the fog? Do I really want to get all sweaty? Do I really want to feel the burn in my legs and the cold in my lungs?
As I ask myself these questions, I simply do the next thing: I put on my workout clothes and lace up my shoes. I pull up the run tracker on my phone and pick my playlist (usually something poppy and upbeat to motivate me or worship music, since running is one of my favorite ways of communing with God). Before I know it, I’m out the door and on my way. Even my overly-analytical mind can’t compete with legs that are ready to run.
The process of writing is extremely similar. I love writing – just like I love running. I know it’s benefits, and I know I will love it once I start. But it’s not as romantic as it may seem. It’s not like locking yourself away in a cozy cabin or beautiful beach house, getting inspired, and letting the words pour out of you. It is an amazing, inspiring, transformative process. But like most life-altering pursuits, writing can be painful or just plain hard. It takes initiative, momentum, and a constant placing of one foot – or one word – in front of the next.
Since returning from my month-long sabbatical, keeping up the momentum of writing my book on recovering from perfectionism has certainly been difficult. The silence on this blog over the last couple weeks is evidence of that. But as my primary writing focus right now is on the book, I’m trying to prioritize that, and let the blogging come as it may. Continue reading
This past week has been full of beauty, friendship, rest, and sunshine. All the good things. Here are 10 things I’ve learned during my time here. Continue reading
Your deadlines are pressing in on you like a heavy weight, you’ve run out of clean underwear, and you think your marriage or your dating life (or lack of one) just might kill you.
Life can feel overwhelming. That’s why I write. I write for the men and women who need to know that even though life feels out of control, that might actually be a good thing – there might be something to learn or a way to grow and stretch beyond the present trials. I write for people who want to find purpose in the small and big, the light and dark, the mountains and the molehills. Purpose that stems from who they are, not what they do.
I write for the woman who sometimes struggles to see the beauty in life – especially when she looks in the mirror. She’s so caught up in the trials and frustrations, and I just want to tell her: It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Because these things are hard. But 1) God is present with you, and if you let him come close to you in this state of frustration, you’re going to find a peace and joy that you didn’t know was possible. And 2) these circumstances will change you. You’re in the crucible. So rather than trying to find a way OUT or AROUND, look for the way THROUGH and the gifts you’ll find IN that place.
Basically, I write for me, because those are truths I need to remind myself of daily. And I write for you. I write for the women I know and love – even if I’ve never met them – who want to believe there’s grace in the messiness of their lives. Who are tired of the constant striving and hustling for their self-worth. Who want to experience joy and love that’s not tied to their performance or the level of perfection they’ve achieved in their bodies or their work. Who want to press through the challenges and come out stronger on the other side. Continue reading
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep. When I was little, I’d lay in bed, pretending to stir the stars that blanketed the ceiling in my imagination. Or I’d lay there writing stories in my head or dreaming about my future – career, wedding, husband…I had plenty of time to plan it all in those sleepless hours.
Being a somewhat anxious child, I’d also worry about all the things that could go wrong while I was sleeping. What if there was a fire? What if something happened to my parents? What if a burglar tried to break in? As my mom can attest, my nightly prayers often included pleas for protection against any potential maladies or disasters that might come down on our household.
During my college years, my sleepless nights were fewer, probably because I was chronically sleep-deprived. Like most over-achieving academic – especially those with a long-distance boyfriend that they’d talk to on AIM (throw-back!) until the wee hours of the morning – I was lucky to get an average of five hours a night. So when my head hit the pillow, it didn’t take long to drift off into dream land.
These days, though, I’m back in the thick of it. Chasing after sleep like it’s a coveted prize. Struggling to achieve lack of consciousness, even when I’m past the point of exhaustion. Wrestling with questions about why I have such a hard time letting go and just getting to sleep for goodness’ sake. Continue reading
Sunshine and scrabble
This 4th of July weekend was a strange one. I didn’t enter into it in freedom. Rather, I entered into it sick, exhausted, and, as a result, stressed out – all in all, not the most celebratory of moods. So, I escaped the foggy weather that had me feeling extra drained and headed out east to my family’s house.
The warm sunshine and vitamin D certainly helped. There’s something about sitting out on the patio with my mom, enjoying lunch and iced tea and letting the warm breeze wash over us, that’s incredibly healing.
But, while the warmth and the antibiotics got to work in my body…so did my stress. I worried that I wouldn’t heal quickly enough in time for the work week. I worried that I was letting people down by not being at church to usher on Sunday. And that worry kept me up last night until way past my bedtime. I tossed and turned in the now not-so-pleasant heat and finally turned on the light and just read and prayed. Continue reading