Before KLR got married, a friend gave her a bit of advice. “Never do anything in the first year that you don’t want to be doing in 10 years from now.”
(Full disclosure: this may not be the exact quote. The friend may have used different time frames. This is just what I recall the advice being. I know, a real writer would verify with the source. This, my friends, is the beauty of blogging).
I had lunch today with a friend because he’s beginning to take on new responsibilities at work and was looking for some perspective. Sort of the “one thing to focus on” or “best tip you’ve heard”. We talked about a spectrum of topics, and it wasn’t until I returned to my desk that it struck me that KLR’s wedding advice was probably the best tidbit for anyone coming into a change of title.
Now, I’m all for going “above and beyond” – both at work and to make Husband happy. I’m glad to do those little things that make a difference. But there’s something to be said for knowing when to give it full-throttle vs. having to live full throttle. Very few teams can full-court press for an entire game, let alone can a player do it solo.
Something in our culture is robbing us from the enjoyment of a strong, simple pace. Doing good, reliable work on a consistent basis. We’re encouraged to sprint the entire race, even if we’re participating in a marathon (let’s see… can I fit another sports analogy into this post?). We have to be superstars in every facet of life, satisfied with nothing but the absolute best. Always.
Even the word mediocrity holds a negative undertone. I half-joke when I use it with friends at work because the point isn’t how little work can I get away with? but rather, what pace and expectation do I want to set? I think we can do a superb job living up to the expectations and requirements of our roles of employee, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend when the goal isn’t perfection but consistency. I think those who depend on us, deep down don’t expect perfection but our own obsession with it keeps us from appreciating the honest efforts and the steady results.
I’d much rather have a simple meal from the grill 6 nights a week than a gourmet production once a month (look! Food, not sports this time!). So, perhaps we ought to start giving ourselves the freedom to sit down and enjoy the fruits of our simple, consistent, albeit imperfect at times, efforts.