Last Friday, I was working on a report. It’s due the first Friday of every month. It is pretty mundane and likely that no one will read it. It was sufficient. It met expectations.
I am working on a new venture that I am very excited about. It has a long way to go but it’s a lot of fun. I have some great partners and the plan is coming together. I have a date in mind but I may have to put something pretty good out there to test the waters. I may have to adjust based on the response. I can’t assume that a customer wants what I think they want.
There is another project that is due I have been told how “super important” it is to meet the deadline. There are emails with red exclamation points and ‘hard due dates’. I have to miss that deadline. It’s just not ready.
We are often faced with deadlines and expectations. Maybe they are self imposed. Maybe they are imposed by others.
With deadlines that we can’t deliver our best (ht-Sarah Elkins), we have a few choices. Sufficient, pretty good, or miss.
Sometimes, we have to just offer what we have. Sometimes it’s not the best but it will suffice. Maybe no one reads this report anyway. Maybe no one really cares. A marginal report or a generic summary. “It’s just something we do”. Why should we put in all of our effort to something that no one really cares about?
This is OK; as long as we are shooting for sufficient. I don’t want to be known as the best report writer anyway.
We tried. We gave it our best. Maybe we paid it forward and someone else will step in to help us finish our magic.
If we are a lean startup or someone publishing their first post, we might have to find the courage to throw an idea at the wall. Maybe it’ll stick. Maybe it will get stickier with each toss. If not, maybe a friend will help us pick it up off the ground. Maybe we can clean it up and move to the next thing.
It was pretty good. Maybe our best effort just wasn’t good enough or we needed feedback to make it better. Maybe it’s dead.
Sometimes, it might be better to hold back. Miss a deadline. Disappoint someone. We might have the courage to wait for perfection when it is there, but just not ready.
Maybe we decide we didn’t need to put in any effort. Maybe we need to miss it and send a message that the deadline isn’t important. Maybe it is an outdated report or procedure. Maybe it should have never existed. Maybe it’s a waste of time.
I don’t always like absolutes. Sometimes I like a gray area. Sometimes something is too important to miss, but it might not be a deadline. It might just be a commitment. Maybe it’s family or friends or that thing we love. We might miss an ‘always’ but it’s rare.
Sometimes we have to make a choice when the deadline is coming. Have the courage to know which one to choose. Results are not guaranteed with any of them.
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Image 2: stopsignclipart
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