All the time, all day, every day, on different channels online or in campaigns on billboards and ad-spaces or wherever, we are surrounded by influencers, experts, entrepreneurs and people knowing so so much (and who happily let us know that they know so much and, according to themselves, have all the answers). I think we get bombarded by images of highly successful people and this idea starts to take form in our heads that we are “supposed to be that way” too. we need to have answers to everything and be successful and superduper great at what we do, because otherwise it’s not good enough. Be the expert at whatever or don’t do it at all. Be the most successful influencer or don’t even use social media. Be the most highly skilled creative designer or go do something else. Be a well known expert in whatever area or get out of it. Be the best at whatever you do, or find something else to do that you can be the best at, or find something else, or something else again… It’s a never ending vicious circle.
I remember when starting out my professional life someone told me (whom I don’t recall) to “be the expert at what you do”. Post about it and show everyone around you that you are the best and have all the answers and be the go-to person and just be the best. For so long I listened to that advise… And it’s exhausting!
Everyone can’t be the best. It’s simple impossible (“Oh, she’s such a Debbie Downer for using the word impossible, it’s not even in my vocabulary!” – says whoever is claiming to be such a great this or successful expert in that or whatever.). Of course, many people can be successful and be experts, yes, but, also, why should we be? I’m not saying I’m not as hard working as the next person or don’t have goals, I’m just saying: I am not the best, I am not the most successful this or knowledgable expert in that. I am GOOD at what I do and I like what I do. But I don’t, nor do I want to, claim the title as the most knowledgable expert. And that’s okay.
I (an I’m sure I’m not alone) encounter – whether it be on social media, ads or in real life – people who are these kinds of people, who think they are the best and seem to go by the motto “be the expert at what you do”. Many of them are, of course, also very successful and great at what they do. What gives me the ick is this way of looking down at those of us who do not live by the same “mantra”, if you will. My experience is that these self-proclaimed experts sit on their high horses and have all these skills and knowledge and whatever, and then LOOK DOWN at those of us who are not (claiming to be) the best experts or whatever. As if there is shame in that.
No. I think that’s a way more healthy way of living, not exhausting oneself (have a look at The Nap Ministry for more amazing inspiration). Being GOOD, but not claiming to be (or even trying to be?) the best and most successful at what you do.
I do admire people who are experts and successful and superduper great at whatever it may be, of course. But I have realized that trying to be that myself is not worth it. I want to be, and work to be, GOOD and what I do. Good is still GOOD. It’s not a bad or negative thing. It’s not “just ok”. It’s GOOD! And I like to be GOOD.
Reflecting upon being good also makes me think about doing work that is “good enough”. The same sentiment: it’s GOOD. It’s not a bad or negative thing. It’s good enough for when there’s not any more resources, time, money, energy or room to do better or more.
Not everything HAS to be the best work we do, or the most creative idea we come up with, or whatever. Some things can be (just) good enough. It is good enough. So can we also normalize “good enough”, while we are normalising “normal” and “good”?
Okay okay, now I have ranted for a little bit, and if you have read it all; wow, thanks! What do I want to say with this? I want to tell whoever will listen (but maybe mostly myself) that it’s not okay to be good. It’s GOOD to be good. Actually, it may even be superduper GREAT to be GOOD! And whether we make and produce superduper amazing work, or good enough work, it’s fantastically good enough! We are FANTASTICALLY GOOD ENOUGH. Which is f*cking amazing!