When Good Is Good Enough

Episode #41

What if what you were working so hard at perfecting is actually already good enough? Many of us may struggle with this idea. Why do so many of us strive for perfection? Are we seeking validation? Approval? Maybe we’re afraid we’ll be judged if we aren’t the best. Or perhaps, we feel we will hold value or worth in society if we achieve something significant. In this episode, we share some of our own struggles with perfectionism, we discuss the tolls perfectionism can have in your life and on your well-being, as well as, tips on how to overcome.


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
This is Episode 41 good is good enough.

Welcome to rise up and shine. We are two women at different stages of life who have overcome feeling stuck and are now living life fully with peace and joy. Join Us Weekly for a real raw and faithful conversation about our trials and triumphs, bringing hope insight and weekly tips that you too can rise up and let your light shine bright.

Welcome back ladies to the rise up and shine podcast. Claudine and Ashley here together again in our recording studio.

Claudine
That’s right. Spent a little while it’s good to see your face. It has been a little while we’ve been traveling this summer, but here we are today together.

Ashley
But it’s gonna be short lived again. Right?

Claudine
Right. I’m back on the road again in three days.

Ashley
Wow. And where are you going? This time?

Claudine
Next trip is up the Oregon coast from California to Oregon. We are having severe weather here. We’re having heat in the hundreds plus and humidity. So we’re going to the Oregon coast.

Ashley
I’m jealous. I want to go. My kids just started school. So we’re home down now.

Claudine
Oh, there you go. I guess it’s important to get schoolwork done.

Ashley
Yeah. Next so yes. Well, everybody today we are talking about good is good enough. Now what does that mean? Well, we’re going to talk about perfectionism. I think many of us struggle with perfectionism. I know I do plenty and you said you do as well. And we want to focus on a few key aspects of this topic. So today we’re going to be diving a little deeper into what does it mean good is good enough. So Claudine? Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?

Claudine
I do actually consider myself a recovering perfectionist. So certainly in my teens and my early adulthood. I thought perfectionism was an ideal that I could achieve, right. And as I matured, I realized I could not. And so I have overcome it in some degree. But the point is, really, once you’re perfectionist, there’s still some roots in there. So it’s a constant work of overcoming perfectionism. I love that we’re talking today about good is good enough. That’s been my mantra for the last few years, just realizing and believing that good is good enough. It’s been incredibly helpful for me. And Ashley, there’s so many tools to perfectionism.

Ashley
Oh, yeah.

Claudine
Why don’t you share some with our listeners?

Ashley
Oh, for sure. So first thing is, it adds unnecessary stress. Yeah, to our lives, even on our own physical bodies, it just adds stress that we don’t need. And we all try to eliminate stress in our life as much as we can. And this is one area where it’s good to take a hard look at it. Okay, what area of my life am I? Am I being a perfectionist? Where am I having this high expectation of myself? And to recognize that and to try and curb that a bit right? That perfectionism is not necessary, perfectionism is this unrealistic goal that we could have? Again, it as frustration, right? realize we’re going to constantly be frustrated, because we’re striving for something that’s not going to happen most likely? What? What I can never reach being perfect. If you do, please share with me, but I’m gonna say, you know, burst your bubble a little bit. No, unfortunately. But we hold this height expectation over ourselves, and we’re going to get frustrated, we’re going to get disappointed, because we’re not going to reach this extremely high standard that we have for ourselves. It also can really lower our self esteem, right? It will feel like a failure where we feel like we’re not doing a good enough job in parenting a good enough job at our work. a good enough job in our marriage. I’m not a good enough wife. I struggled with that a lot. You know, I tried to be the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect house cleaner, right? Have rails perfectly clean, with perfect lunches for my children and you know.

Claudine
Perfectly staged every day of the day with all those lovely children living in it.

Ashley
Yes, but I was feeling so little about myself because I just felt like I was constantly failing, right? constantly falling short. It also causes decisiveness. Now I struggle with this a lot in decisiveness. And it causes so much anxiety as well, which is another thing anxiety it we right now, especially with being home working from home, this pandemic, we’re really wrestling with our male mental health and emotional health that much more. And perfectionism could really be taking a toll on us right now. And we could be causing a lot more anxiety. And it’s also discontent right? Because a lot of men in our lives are unhappy because we have yet to reach this mark that we have set for ourselves.

Claudine
But what’s interesting is that perfectionism is driven by a desire Avoid failure and judgment. Yeah, but perfectionism in itself produces failure and self doubt, right. So it’s kind of this catch 22 I mean, the very thing that we’re driven to avoid, we create in our life, because we can’t achieve perfectionism. And yet we’re trying to avoid failure or judgment, we’re seeking really, it’s a desire to feel loved and accepted. And as we struggle with being imperfect, it’s the very things that we’re creating in our life that we’re not having. I know, for me, in my teen years, I really struggled with an eating disorder, I thought, if I had the perfect body, then my boyfriend would love me, then my friends would accept me and I popular if I could just hit that perfect weight. And the truth of it is I got thinner and thinner and thinner, and I was completely unrelatable. To my girlfriends around me. I mean, the last person they wanted to spend time with was me, who is ultra thin, which, in a weird way, was kind of competitive on their part. And then who didn’t really eat anything? I mean, what fun is that? What fun is having a friend that doesn’t need being said by a woman who just ate, ate fried pies with her dear friend in Nashville, on our annual road trip, but it really, honestly cause the very things I was trying to avoid?

Ashley
So essentially, we cause our own pain, right? When we are striving for this perfection. Now, in any area of our life, right? Here anything?

Claudine
Well, what’s interesting is then I became a Christian in my 20s. And then I started reading, like in Matthew five, where it says be perfect. It gave my overachieving self, yet another motivation to try to attain perfection, which, of course, we know is not possible. So what do you say to that? Actually, what do you say to other women who read them think See, I need to be perfect.

Ashley
Right? Colossians 3:23 is a very popular one, right? And whatever we do, do as if you’re working for the Lord, not for man. And I really take that scripture to heart because it takes a lot of pressure off for me personally, that I don’t have to expect myself to be perfect. And also, I’m working for God, God sees our heart. So really, it comes down to our efforts, whatever are we putting into whatever it is we’re working at, you know, whether it’s being a mom, a wife, a worker, a friend, and our own physical health, even some of us might have lost our jobs during this pandemic, you know, are you putting your best effort looking for another job, or a stay at home moms like myself, and my putting in my best effort to care for my family? Or my husband has specific needs that are very important to him, like the budget? And the budget? Am I honestly doing my best and meeting that need for him? You know, and it’s, again, I can feel like I’m failing as a wife. But sometimes we have to take a hard look inside of ourselves, like, what effort Am I really putting forth? Right?

Claudine
That’s a great point, you’re really distinguishing between the effort and the results. And I know for myself, when I struggled with perfectionism, it was really always all about the results. It was never about my efforts, right. And so I appreciate making that distinction that we can do something wholeheartedly and really make great effort and have excellent efforts. But our results, that’s we’re never going to achieve perfection there.

Ashley
When you think about it, what did culture teach us growing up? You know, I mean, you need to strive for the A every time right? Well, you’re not doing that great of a job if you did not get the A on the right. And if you got to be some parents would even pay their children. You got an A I’ll give you money if you got to be sorry. Yeah, get that a next time. Yeah. Sports. Right, right. Another one. And especially nowadays, even I know, we’ve always struggled with our physical appearance and how we look and present ourselves. But now with social media. That’s that comparison. I mean, we’re constantly looking at others and comparing and because feel like we need to look our best. Our Instagram needs to be the best Look, I asked and our family photo needs to be the best. To be honest. That’s one reason we have not done family photos. Because I’m like, my kids can’t even look at the camera and smile all at the same time. Yeah, they don’t even wear we don’t wear matching clothes. It’s not going to be perfect. So I’m not even going to bother.

Claudine
So you’re going to take this advice that good is good enough. And you’re coming out with a Christmas photo this year.

Ashley
Yes. And probably a realistic one holding you to it. I want one. But you know, I mean, we’ve been ingrained with this idea that we need to be perfect, right? We as children, we do catch on to that, you know, and we my husband and I, we talk to our children all the time that when we’re correcting them when we’re trying to teach them we always reiterate we’re not expecting you to be perfect, but we expect you to give your best right back to you to do your best efforts. That is where a lot of us, we didn’t get to talk that when we were young, no, you know, it was about the results, right, I need to graduate this specific college and I need to get this degree or I need to get this specific job, or I need to work my way up the ladder to make this amount of money. You know, I mean, it’s this results driven idea that can cause us to feel like need to strive and strive and strive for perfection, yet is doing a lot of damage in our own well being right?

Claudine
It really does. It really attacks our self worth if we don’t reach that level of perfectionism that we’re striving for. And you know, another distinction is that excellence is not perfectionist, it’s difference. And again, it relates to the effort versus the results. And I think, even for me raising four children, we were able to distinguish that with them with their studies per couple of our kids, it was really easy for them to get A’s, they actually didn’t have to put a lot of effort. And we had another child that it was much more challenging even for them to get a B or a C, they had to put a lot of effort into it. And so it’s a great point, because the effort is really what we need to focus on, not the results,

Ashley
When you think about it, too. I do this a lot. As a mom, I really reflect a lot on what I’m teaching my kids and I’m teaching them and parenting them in a way that they’re little adults. So what can I teach them now that they are going to need as adults? And does it matter as much if they reach this specific goal? Or is it that I want them in whatever they do to just give their very best effort? Are you doing your best work? Are you giving your best focus your attention, you know, are you striving for excellence, like you said, but it’s not necessarily in the results. It’s more in our attitude and our effort about it. And I think that is going to what that is going to be carries them through hard times, right relationships, challenges and their future job maybe with a co worker or a future boss, right? A lot of that is going to be these great principles that they learn is Foundation, they that they built prayerfully. Right, when they come across those things, they won’t have this unnecessary burden on them. But they have to be perfect. It’s not yet a results thing. But putting in their best efforts is really what’s important.

Claudine
Right. And then the other part of it is realizing that on our own apart for God, we can do nothing. We all fall short, every single one of our best, our best acts are besties our best achievements really fall short of everything. And I think about the story about Mary, Martha and I love that that really helped me. Because in that story, Martha was so busy preparing everything and being upset that her sister Mary wasn’t helping her as she’s going to be hospitable. She probably want to make sure her house was perfect and meals perfect. There was probably a lot of pressure on her to make sure everything was just right. And yet, when Jesus talked to her, he said, you know, Martha, Martha, you know, Mary chose what’s best, only one thing is needed. And that’s obviously focusing on him. And I think for me, that really helped me that if I could do that excellently, everything else would fall into place, and that my self worth my acceptance, to feel loved all that really came from my relationship there.

Ashley
Mm hmm. And when we think about it, when we are striving to be perfect, it takes out our faith really right from the equation, because we’re trying to control or we’re trying to be self reliant. And it’s really taking out God’s heart, like what he really can do God. Right. Our and we’re not very faithful when we are trying to take charge and just, I’ll get it done. I’ll do it. I’ll do it.

Yeah, no. And so and that’s what can happen when we strive for this perfection. It’s more about those results, and less about our heart and our faith. Right. And really what we’re doing is we’re trying to seek our worth, from outside people, right, anywhere outside of ourselves and outside of God. Yeah, we’re we’re trying to seek this, so forth, you know, and so it’s important to recognize that this perfection, it’s coming from something much deeper. And it’s just important to remember that we are already worthy the way we are, I mean, God created us who we are. And when we are living that authentically, then we’re not going to feel this need to strive for this perfection, this ideal perfect self, right? It’s not going to exist, right? And we’re not going to struggle as much with the frustration and the decisiveness and the low self esteem and you know, because we are secure in who our identity is, you know, yes, secure and who we are in Jesus. And another thing to remember is just the awareness right like this goes into the practicals is just being aware of the areas Where we strive for this perfection and why, why are we striving for this perfection one of the areas was like, I was just painting my daughter’s room. And I needed this big accent wall. And I taped off these shapes I was painting and you know, with the tape on the textured wall, the paint bleeds a little. And I was going through the paint restroom, get every little gap, you know, dry, fill it in, fill it in, and I was reciting this to myself good is good enough. Good is good enough. Good is good, right? Actually, a peaceful mantra was it was soothing for me because I had this expectation to be perfect. And with creativity. This is one of the things where my perfectionism comes out, whether it’s painting, whether it’s my children’s birthday parties, like I love to create things, and my perfectionism comes out, but I, it took me several years to realize I was doing it because of approval. I was wanting approval, I was wanting affirmation from people, I wanted people to look at me like, wow, like this big accomplishment like I did today, when I saw like that. You’re to serve. Yeah, thank you, I appreciate it. You filled that void for me with that. But that’s what we’re doing it we’re trying to fill this void, right, we’re trying to feel worthy. We’re trying to feel accepted, and from outside people. And this is a huge driving factor for perfectionism in our lives. And one more thing I wanted to add that I really learned personally, as a mom, is that I love my children imperfectly, because that is yes, Gary, I try to be this perfect Mom, I try to make the perfect lunches and, you know, pick out the perfect clothes, and, you know, make sure everything’s all perfect, and that I even don’t fall short. Right? When I’m parenting. You know, I mean, it’s this absurd ideal that I had in my mind. But it’s because I want to be liked, I want to be approved. I want to write this worth, you know, that I’m doing as a mom, because especially as a mom, you know, I’ve said this in the past that when you get purpose, like you could first mom guilt right away to like, you’re just gonna feel guilty about anything and everything. So just reminding yourself that I love my children and perfectly and that’s okay. I’m not a perfect person, you know, I’m going to make mistakes. I own them. I apologize for them. But I will love my children and perfectly and my parents loved me and perfectly and right it is what it is. And that is okay.

Claudine
Yes. So you’ve been applying this principle to your parenting and your relationships there. And I’ve been applying this principle to my business. Because like you mentioned earlier, one of the effects of perfectionism is paralysis. And so we can get stuck, feel really stuck, like, Okay, well, I’ll launch my business. When I’ve gotten all of this done. It’s kind of like when everything is perfect.

Ashley
All the ducks are in a row.

Claudine
Right? Which, you know, how often does that happen. But my business coach is really big on teaching, take massive, imperfect action. And I love that because you don’t wait to do it perfectly, you just do it imperfectly, and then you’re still gonna get results. So truth of it is done is better than undone. And if we wait to do it just right and do it perfectly, it’ll never get done. And that’s been really helpful. Like I, as you know, I recently wrote a book, it’ll be out this fall. And, you know, it’s imperfect. It’s not a perfect book. And I told him, I kept telling myself good is good enough, is good enough. And the truth is I got written in five days. Now I have seen content editing, and then in a couple weeks, it’ll be in formal editing. And those people will help it make better, but I could have been frozen and never written a word if I had to make it perfect like, and I felt that I really did feel that for a couple weeks. I’m like, I don’t have anything to say. But then I did have a lot to say. And then I’m like, What if it’s not great, and I got so stuck. And then we went away to the cabin. And I just wrote for five days straight I just wrote and I kept telling myself good is good enough, good is good enough. And it’s great, because there’ll be other people there to catch any, you know, blu ray mistakes. So that was super helpful for me. And the other thing was don’t compare, you know, don’t compare, like if I start comparing myself to, I don’t know, some great American novelist, I’m never gonna put this out there. But you know what good is good enough. And I keep telling myself that and again, do you know where you started where you are, start right once or save them years in advance? Right? Don’t compare Oh, here’s a practical to overcome perfectionism. Do not compare yourself to anybody else. And just make a decision. That was the other thing, make a decision and stick to it. I made a decision to do this in my business, and I stuck to it. And honestly, whether it’s perfect or imperfect or good enough, I feel good about myself. And my self worth is increased because I did something I said I was gonna just I honored my commitment to myself.

Ashley
And that is a very hard thing because we’re not held accountable. Right, right, like by a boss or right but he does rely on us. And so it’s so much easier to break those promises right to ourselves. That’s what happened with exercising, during the pandemic? Yeah. I mean, I came up with all these excuses and also with the rebuilding my business, right when my content and I, again, like I can definitely take this because, but the pandemic and hurting the kids home, I’ve kind of fallen off the wayside for a little bit like taking this long break, right? I was okay, when the children get in school, then I’m gonna go for this and start building up more of my business.

Claudine
Cause we thought that this would only be two weeks or two months, right? Yeah, here we are. What what are we in five months into it?

Ashley
I lost count I at least I know. We’re in 2020. So yeah, and it’s August. We know that much. Oh, yeah. The heat is definitely reminding me It’s so hot. 109 for like, seven plus days.

Claudine
Yes.

Ashley
So we might be a little delirious today, fellas, but that’s okay. So but yes, again, I that perfectionism can keep me from working on my price. You know, it’s like, I need all these things to be perfectly in line. And then it’s all going to work out perfectly. And like you said, with you making a decision that in decisiveness, as long as you make a decision. You feel good, you feel accomplished. And it ends up being the wrong decision. There’s no shame and just right, well, then let’s try this other idea I had, right. You know, it’s the end, decisiveness is what’s going to keep us frozen and stuck.

Claudine
Yeah, I mean, better to learn from our mistakes than right. I think it all from doing nothing. Right. So then.

Ashley
It’s depressing. Yeah. I mean, I live there for several years, yeah, feeling completely paralyzed, right, and just unhappy and discontent and there are decisions that need to be made. And I need to kind of lower these standards. Really.

Claudine
Yeah, I just, I just aim for B work. That’s the way I look at it, like, I’m just gonna do B work. It’s not that I don’t want to do A work I do. But I don’t put my pressure on myself. Like it’s not A, it’s worthless. So now I’m like, Okay, I’m just going to strive for B. And the truth of it is that relieves so much pressure, right. And then I feel so much more creative and at peace, that ultimately I probably do produce A work. It’s funny, but if we’re aiming for A, we get so stuck, that if we produce anything at all, it’s probably C or D. And so that’s been very freeing for me, like, I’m just going to produce the work, that’s kind of good and good is good enough formal school, and it’s very freeing. Like, I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to have a bus, then I feel at peace, I feel relaxed, the pressures off and I can just create, do and go forward, and it ends up pretty good after all.

Ashley
Yeah, and I want to remind our listeners too, that it takes time. Because in the beginning, when we are already wired, our brains already wired to strive for this perfection and this expectation we have of ourselves, it’s gonna take time to rewire that, renew our thinking pattern, right? And remind ourselves good is good enough just to get it done. You know, that’s a huge accomplishment right there. And whatever we’re striving for, just feel good in your work, feel good in your effort, feel good in your attitude about it, you know, that just remind yourself and it does, you kind of have to coach yourself, you know, right through it. And then but the more you keep reminding yourself and reaffirming yourself that it gets easier because you’re building those new neural pathways. And you’re changing your thinking to a healthier standard, right, and then your brain is going to start following that new thinking pattern. And then it just becomes easier. So in the beginning, I just want to remind our listeners, it will feel hard, it will feel impossible, but it’s temporary, it will get easier as you’re renewing this thinking.

Claudine
Yeah, I mean, this podcast is a perfect example of how I threw that in there. Because if we had tried to make a perfect podcast, we’d still be editing forever. And we wouldn’t have hit Episode 41. Because truly, this is not perfect, but it is good enough.

Ashley
Speaking as the one who does the editing for this podcast is very true. I tell myself that a lot. I mean, I can spend hours and hours editing, and I realize it’s, it’s, it’s good. It’s good. And when I ask other people, hey, how does it sound like this sounds great. But in my own head, I can get stuck.

Claudine
I know you’ve really trained me not to click and not to move and not to touch papers while reading. But it is good enough and that is very freeing and de-stressing, is that a word de-stressing? Un-stressing? Yes, it is now.

Ashley
It is now if it’s okay, but I’m pretty sure it is.

Claudine
So hopefully today we hope that you have come to see that good is good enough. take some pressure off yourself. Enjoy your relationship. Your work, your business, if you have a business, whatever it is you do, I hope you’re focused on the efforts and not the results. And we’ll leave you with what Psalm says in Psalms 18:32. It is God who earns us a strength and he makes our way perfect. Until next time, ladies, be good, and do good.

Ashley
Friends, thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.