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When “Good Enough” Isn’t Good Enough

One of the things that makes me really sad is when I hear people say something like, “I’m looking at XYZ jobs because that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s the only kind of job I can get.”

I swear a little piece of me dies inside when I hear it.

When we only pursue the job we think we can get, we cut ourselves off from considering other possibilities and alternative paths or solutions. We don’t even see opportunities when they present themselves. We stay in our safe, albeit unhappy, little bubble.

In my experience, we often sell ourselves short. We are our own worst critics. What we think we can get is much different from what’s actually possible for us. We settle for “good enough” because it sounds practical and secure—and may wind up depressed, irritable and discontent.

Here’s an example.

I have a client who has been working in administrative “stuff” for the past 15 years. She’s good at it. It’s paid her well and she has all the necessary skills and willingness to learn new things.

But she doesn’t want to do it anymore. It’s just the job that she got when she first moved to Portland and needed to pay rent. It was never the kind of work that she really wanted to do.

It was just “good enough.”

She’s 50. The practical and easy thing to do would be to find a job doing the same old thing and take advantage of corporate health benefits.

But she chewed off three fingernails last week while working on her resume because, in her heart, she knows she doesn’t actually want to do this kind of work anymore.

She just thinks it’s the only work she can get.

What she really wants to do is go back to school and finish her degree and then get back into hospitality.

So you know what she’s thinking? She’ll go back to school, finish the 9 credits she needs to complete her degree and work in catering at Cirque du Soleil. “It sounds really fun,” she laughed.

And that’s the key. When you sit up straighter, start to move in your chair, get excited, or laugh. That’s when you know the “good enough” you’ve been settling for just isn’t.

But then her tone changed. “The Cirque du Soleil job is a step down. People will think I’m crazy.”

Notice how quickly she came up with a reason not to do it.

I nodded. “They might. But you aren’t responsible for what they think. You’re responsible for making yourself happy. They aren’t doing that for you, are they?”

No one is served well when you are depressed, irritable and discontent. Save your fingernails and find work that's better than "good enough."

If you'd like some help figuring out what job IS good enough for you, shoot me an email.

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