One of the most frequent questions I am asked by other women is “How Do You Do It All?” My answer has been the same for over a decade…. I have low expectations of perfection. Everyone giggles uncomfortably at this answer, but the truth is, that is exactly how I “DO IT ALL.” (Whatever that means).
My life is full by choice. There have been times, because of excessive half-hearted YES’s that resulted in time commitments, when it has been unmanageably full (a topic for another post), but generally speaking, my life looks intentional because it is intentional.
One of my core values is Best Effort. Best effort is not perfectionism but commitment to excellence in the moment. It is a fluid harmony that considers all dimensions of life, demands of the moment, and time investment opportunities before making a choice. Best effort recognizes that sometimes “good enough or not at all” is in alignment with highest good, and a no-guilt NO is absolutely perfect. Best effort softens the rigidity of perfectionism and instead asks only that I show up fully, shine in that moment, and let it all go. Best effort celebrates having fun in the process and tisk-tisks when we freak-out trying to perfectly do it all.
I’ve always had a time hungry professional life. As I made choices to add side hustles that make my heart sing, children, marriage, & service and board work to my plate, I simultaneously redefined how I think about best effort. I’d love to say it was a graceful recalibration, but alas, it was a wild thrashing of spirit and mind throwing punches and rolling to the ground in a sweaty heave until spirit claimed victory. That wrestle took years (a lesson in self-patience).
The HOW of lowering expectations to be present to the potential of the moment is a process that requires discipline and practice. The first action is to do the work to unravel and detach from our story of perfectionism and people pleasing. I have found that immersion therapy is best – just stop doing it and then learn to sit in the discomfort. Once your training is complete, you begin practicing the steps of conscious choice.
In any moment, can you find the sweet spot of your values? For me, that’s finding the convergence of meaningful impact, self-love, joy, best effort, and graceful entries and exits. What is it for you?