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Anything Worth Doing, is Worth Doing Poorly

I read a good quote the other day that initially hit a nerve with me.

Someone had written in a forum that their college professor always used to say:

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly”.

My first reaction was “What the hey?? What kind of advice is this?” Why would anyone tell someone to do anything poorly?

But whenever I encounter something I don’t agree with and react to like this, I like to sit with it and mull it over to assess whether this new information is to be discarded or whether my ideas need to be updated. It’s one of my blind spot strategies. As much as this quote sounds counterintuitive, it must stand to reason coming from a college professor and I must be missing something here.

But I couldn’t think what it was.

So I jumped in the shower. And it hit me.

Most things in life that are worth doing are hard. Sometimes, really hard. Especially when it comes to learning new skills or making a change in our lives. And often we don’t even start because we think we need to get everything right or perfect. We compare ourselves to everyone else out there who does it better to the point we convince ourselves it’s not even worth trying unless we can do the same. Or we think we need to change everything at once but eventually realize we couldn’t sustain it. Then it feels like we failed to learn or make a change, which then de-motivates us.

I could find examples of this in my life. When I wanted to eat better, I simultaneously cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar but could not sustain it as it was in most things I routinely ate (including soy sauce which I put in everything!). Blogging was something I wanted to do for a long time but kept putting it off because I felt it needed to look and be perfect.

But the reality is, all we need to do is start. And to give ourselves permission to do it poorly.

Take that pressure off.

See the thing is once we start, it all evolves and grows. We get better at it. But if we never start, nothing can grow and we rob ourselves of the opportunity.

So whatever it is you want to do, health improvements you want to make, big dreams that you have, projects you want to work on, start now, start small, and do it poorly. It might look messy at the start and you might get things wrong, but focus on making small gains over time and let’s ditch that all-or-nothing mindset.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to be a start.

Then be amazed at how much life can change as you see it all unfold.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.

What small step can you take right now that takes you closer to your goal?

Take that step and make a start,