Jean Croker Petke

Not good enough

Not good enough

“It doesn’t have to be good right now, it just needs to exist.” That’s what Austin Kleon says. In fact he uses it as a motto for his work.

But . . . We all want our work to be good from the get go. It’s certainly true for me. I suspect it’s true for you as well.

In fact, we often don’t start a project or some new endeavor, because we already know we won’t be good at it. Especially at the beginning. But maybe we think we’ll never be good at it — certainly not good enough.

We want to be good without gathering the experience that will get us there.

This week Dr. B gave me another impossible piece of music to learn. In my first attempt to read through it not a single measure sounded like music. I spent the rest of that afternoon writing in the fingerings. In the process I found several small sections that repeat throughout the piece, which will make learning a little easier. Here’s the kicker. I have a lesson in one week (instead of the usual two) and he’ll check my progress. Of course, I want to at least play all the right notes, even if my tempo is slower than a snail. But I know from past experience, not all the right notes will show up and my struggle will be obvious to Dr. B.

“It doesn’t need to be good right now, it just needs to exist.”

Practice on Day 2 showed minute improvement. With daily practice, progress will continue. But come Friday lesson, my efforts will sound like a beginner just learning to read music and hunting for the right keys.

“It doesn’t have to be good right now, it just needs to exist.”

The process is the same, no matter our project. We start with nothing and gather knowledge and experience as we go. But we’re never good at the beginning. Never.

A friend of mine needs to have her fence replaced. She doesn’t know anything about fences, except that hers is in disrepair and the gate has to be wide enough for the mower. That’s all she knew at the beginning.

“It doesn’t have to be good right now, it just needs to exist.”

After contacting just one fence company she learned what information they need, what questions to ask, and possible fence options. Not only has she acquired knowledge, but she has gained confidence as she contacts other fencers. She no longer feels totally out of her comfort zone. She’s doing her work and gathering experience. Her “overwhelm” is gradually subsiding.

We are impatient with knowledge and experience gathering. It’s long and wearisome. But it’s necessary to get to where we want to go or become who we want to be.

Be patient with yourself and the process.

Show up.

Do your work.

Claim your life.


Until next Tuesday . . .