Monday, October 3, 2016

Done Better Than Perfect

A few weeks ago, Lauren ran a half marathon without any preparation. My wife went all beast mode and knocked out a race that would have left me whimpering. I can barely believe it myself, but it happened. Crazy, right? It's hard for me to believe too, but I am 100% sure she didn't leave the baby with me to go running over the summer, and I was at the race with her for the start and the finish. Yes, she is impressive. She kind of makes me look bad sometimes. I'm still not sure why she said, "Yes."

This would be an appropriate time to go on a predictable tangent about how perseverance in marathons is so crucial, and how we should be willing to apply that to the rest of our lives, and blah blah blah... but I won't. You've probably already heard all that before. Besides, believe it or not, that isn't the part about all this that impressed me the most about Lauren's race. What impressed me most is that preparing was in her original plans, but she got tied up in all kinds of other stuff and didn't. She even had the opportunity to back out... but she went out there and did it anyway. I think there's a lesson to learn here that's just as important as that tried-and-true perseverance lesson.

Lauren set a goal years ago to run a half marathon. Now she has. No putting it off until later. No giving excuses. None of that, "I'll do it when I'm better prepared," stuff. She's done. Put a fork in it. Cross it off the list. Finished. Completed.

She had all the reasons in the world to put this particular goal off for another month (or more), but she chose not to. She knew she wasn't going to get a medal, and she knew she wouldn't get a great time... but she still chose to meet the challenge. That, to me, might be even more impressive than the fact that she made it through all 13.1 miles. She knew she wasn't prepared enough to perform at her peak, but she finished it anyway.

Now I'm all for being as prepared as possible. I've even used the, "We're going slow intentionally so we can get it right," line. But how many times do we decline to meet a challenge because we could theoretically perform better some other time? I know I do it all the time. In fact, my procrastination is almost never due to a lack of motivation. Rather, it's the idea that I'll be better prepared to meet the challenge tomorrow. In most cases it's true that I'd do better with more time to plan, more research, a better schedule, better sleep, or whatever... but how much more productive would I be if I would just tackle the challenges as they come? How much more could I accomplish if I was willing to accept decent results rather than holding out for something outstanding every time?

If there is a challenge you've been avoiding because you're worried you won't do as well as you imagined, I want to encourage you to jump into it. Learn from whatever mistakes you make, and do better the next time. Lauren is already planning for her next half marathon. What scary big challenges are you willing to meet next?