“Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, “Sure, every time.”
~ Mickey Mantle
When the football team takes the field, they take it planning to win the game, yet one team will lose. Every swimmer, runner, dancer, gymnast wants to win the gold medal, and not every one of them will. Everyone who goes into business for themselves wants to have a successful venture, but most find they are thankful if they manage to stay afloat when competing with larger companies. Mickey Mantle tried to hit a home run every time he stepped up to the plate — 8,102 times. He achieved that goal 536 times. While that is an impressive number, it’s equally important to remember that 7,566 times he didn’t hit a home run, and he struck out 1,710 times. The number of home runs is what we celebrate, but the number of times he did not hit a home run is what should propel us in our own moments of striking out.
“What should I write about this week?” I asked my son. When I sit down to write, it’s usually a matter of my going through the multiple thoughts that have come into my thinking during the week and didn’t leave me. Every time I write, I want to write something meaningful. Like Mickey Mantle, I want to hit a home run. “Mom, not every week has to be a home run.” he reminded me. Maybe the things that don’t seem like home runs to me are hitting at least a double with a reader. I might even strike out sometimes. What really matters is that I never stop trying to hit a home run when I step up to the plate (keyboard). When I read back over what I’ve written and think, “I guess it’s good enough,” it really is okay to submit.
There is a lot of pressure in life to be better than good enough, but the person who sends us the message that our best efforts aren’t enough is the person in the mirror. We want to be appreciated, we want our contributions to be meaningful, and truth be told, we want to hit the home run — and all of those things will happen, but not every time. When the skater falls on the Triple Salchow, it’s painful, but it doesn’t mean they are no longer a valued and talented skater. Rarely do we remember the falls, the failed field goals, the missed layups, or the reviews that didn’t earn promotions or raises. People remember who we were more than they remember our best or worst moments. I am good enough most days, and I bet you are, too.
It’s time to let yourself off the hook for not being the home run king or queen every time you are at bat. The research I found all points to perfectionism being the issue for folks, but I don’t think it’s that simple. More than just making it sound like we are all a bunch of type A perfectionists (nothing wrong with you folks, by the way), let’s call out the true issue: fear. We often find that we are afraid of being seen as a failure if all we have to offer is ‘good enough’. The keywords: afraid of being seen as... What are you teaching your kids to be afraid of being seen as when they strike out? What are you telling yourself about the way you’re afraid others will see you when it’s just a ‘good enough’ kind of day?
Mickey Mantle wanted a home run every time he went to bat and achieved it 536 times. He struck out 1,710 times. Yet, he is seen as a hero, a legend, as better than good enough, and so are you and I! Try for the home run, but remember good enough is good enough.