Sometimes Your Best Isn’t Good Enough.

Sometimes, your best isn’t good enough.

You try everything you think of to save the friendship.

You give 110 percent to make the work project fly.

You pray and pray and pray for your kid to make the right decisions.

You revise the book again and again, sending it out to editors and agents, hoping for a nibble.

You strategize, make checklists and work through them, ask for advice, draw up spreadsheets, do research, practice, pray, journal, get counseling, and pray some more. You push and push and push and you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

At this point, a few things can happen:

1. You keep pushing as hard as you can, as long as you can, until you collapse in a wrung-out heap at the base of that door that wouldn’t open. You’ve spent so much of yourself — your time, your energy, your love, your prayers — on this one thing that you don’t have anything left for anyone or anything else in your life. It’ll take you months, or maybe years, to recover enough to give yourself unreservedly to another friendship, another book manuscript, or another work project (and, in fact, you may be so damaged that you are NEVER able to give yourself in the same way again).

or

2. You push until one day you realize it’s just not working, that your best isn’t what’s required. Another tool or strategy or even person is needed to bring this project or relationship to fruition, and right now, you don’t have it. It’s just not in your repertoire, like expecting a first-year med student to perform a complicated neurosurgery. No amount of praying, planning, or postulating could make you equal to the task, no matter how much you desire it. In other words, your best just isn’t good enough.

It’s not your fault. It just is.

And if you can accept this fact and realize that maybe some day things will change and the tides might turn and the other person might be more receptive and the agent might like your book and your kid might actually LISTEN to you…

…Then you can reserve your strength. You can marshal the resources you have left, take some time to regroup, and focus on yourself instead of the missed opportunity, lost friendship, or blown work project. You can figure out where you still need to develop, where you can work on your own skills, and make yourself equal to future tasks. You can start evaluating and discerning when you are the right person for the job, and when it’s just a question of being the wrong person in the right place.

And you can keep praying.

And maybe at some point the spiral comes around again and you’ll be in the right place at the right time, and it will all work out.

Or maybe not.

But you’ll be stronger and more capable and full of the sense of what you CAN do and who you CAN affect.

Because many times, your best IS good enough. 

Image courtesy of Cliff1066(tm)/Flickr

Posted by LEadmin
August 12, 2012

The Box Is in Your Mind.

The box is in your mind.

The one that says you’re too old.

Too short.

Too ugly.

Too smart.

Too successful.

Too busy.

Too different.

Too feminine.

Too fat.

Too responsible.

Too poor.

Too weird.

Too shy.

It’s all in your mind. And that means you can change it.

Image courtesy of Vuarnet/Flickr

Posted by LEadmin
August 10, 2012

You’re My Best Friend.

On the plane from Atlanta to Baltimore, I sat next to a father and the cutest four-year-old this side of Legoland. The little boy obviously was thrilled with flying, and was happy even to be seated next to a stranger (me!) for the one-and-a-half hour flight.

He took his juice from his little backpack, his daddy carefully inserting the straw in the Juicy Juice box.

He watched “Curious George.”

He played Angry Birds and laughed out loud when he made the Stonehenge-like buildings fall down on his iPad.

He smiled and smiled and smiled and said, “Daddy, you are my best friend.”

I actually teared up when I heard that.

Maybe it’s a function of being on the road away from MY family for the past five days. Or maybe it was thinking of Ben, now a bigger-than-me 14-year-old, as a curly-headed toddler when we would travel from coast to coast, toting along a library of DVDs and a portable player. Or maybe it was just the sweetness of it all.

“Daddy, you are my best friend.”

It was a two-person lovefest, the two of them snuggled up in the seats next to me.

I thought about my kids and wondered if they’d consider me their best friend. And I wondered if ten years from now this boy and his dad would still be in their little cocoon of love.

I wanted to get their email address and send one of those emails to the future you can do via Futureme.org, set to arrive about a decade from now when email will be “quaint” and this particular flight would be long forgotten by them and by me. “You were best friends,” I’d remind them. “You loved each other purely and wholly, hugging and kissing without regard for who was watching you. You just enjoyed each other’s company with no expectations, no history, no baggage.”

Maybe that email would arrive just when they were in a big, shaking-the-walls fight about homework or disrespect or the length of hair that was acceptable in this household. Maybe it would remind them that they really did love one another, no matter what horrible things they’d been throwing at each other. Maybe it would ease the tension and bring back some of that first love feeling when they were a team, not adversaries.

But I didn’t get their email address. I didn’t say anything except, “You’re a good traveler!” (I was rewarded with a toothy smile.)

I didn’t send that message into the future. (That would have been weird, right?)

So instead I’m writing this. Then I’m going to get  on the next plane, head home to Boston, creep into my kids’ rooms in the middle of the night, kiss them on their soft cheeks, and whisper in their sleeping ears…

“You’re my best friend.”

Image courtesy of Robscomputer/Flickr