'Good Enough' is Almost Always That

Write Every Day Project: Day #2

This is part of my Write Every Day Project…

As I closed out the work day yesterday I listened to the Ben Settle podcast for the first time.

I like to think I’m pretty savvy when it comes to the the who’s who of sales and marketing gurus. But I had not heard of Ben until about five days ago. I listened to his July 8 Q&A episode and I’m glad I did.

His style is a little Grant Cardone mixed with Howard Stern and a sprinkle of Pat Flynn. Anywho, because this was a Q&A episode, he was answering questions listeners have submitted.

* Side note: I just stopped to edit. Must. Not. Do. That. 

Setting up the theme of the day

A listener asked Ben a question something like this:

What does a person do when they have so many ideas that they’re sitting around trying to figure out which is best to do first? And they’re worried about telling anyone about them because they might be duds. 

Ben’s answer was short and powerful: Sack up and take action. There’s no magic formula. No accountability group is going to help you with this.

His longer answer dove into this reality: Whether your idea is going to take hold or not, you never really know. You can do all kinds of research and get feedback, and so on, but if it doesn’t work, so what, you move onto the next thing.

It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if the thing you want to work on doesn’t succeed. It means that thing didn’t work out. That’s it.

What a breath of fresh air

It’s so simple. Maybe we need a refresher course.

All of us know this. We all know that we can move onto a new idea if our first doesn’t pan out. Or our second, for that matter. Or…third.

But sometimes hearing it again, put in other words by someone else, makes it resonate.

It’s like a breath of fresh air for me to hear this again. Going back to my experience at the Craft + Commerce event again, I’d say the #1 thing that stood out to me, and I made this comment to numerous people at the event as well as my wife: You can make money in this country, maybe this world, doing almost anything.

I met a person who makes a great living teaching others how to do modern calligraphy. I heard a person who makes a great living teaching others how to restore vintage campers. I met a person who’s earning a living with educating parents how to take better photos—of their own kids. There was even a couple in attendance with a blog about evidence-based information on pregnancy and childbirth. I don’t even know what means and I’ve got five kids.

Which brings me to ‘good enough.’

Why good enough is exactly that most of the time

This is the thought that kept sticking with me as I listened to the rest of Ben Settle’s podcast: Good enough is exactly that most of the time.

For as data-centric as we’ve become, with people developing apps that measure everything you can possible measure in life for monitoring your life in the most precise way, we’re all pretty happy with good enough.

The most popular YouTube videos. Are they slickly produced? Nope. They’re good enough.

The Apple iPhone. Does it have an edge-to-edge screen? Nope. But it’s good enough.

Jason Fried of Basecamp once said, “If it’s good enough, go for it.”

I have a friend who has now published, as of today, 349 podcast episodes. I don’t think he’s missed a full week once over the last four years. He even does up to three episodes in a single week. For the first three years, did he have an A-list microphone? Nope. Did he have top-shelf editing software? Nuh uh. Does he have that stereotypical radio voice? No way.

Today, that podcast is his full-time income. He has sponsors and he makes money in other creative ways because of his podcast.

The sum total of what he had was good enough.

good enough

So what am I going to do with ‘good enough’?

Here’s what I’m going to do with ‘good enough.’

Obviously I’m going to publish a good-enough article every day here for the next 60 days.

I’m going to ratchet up the creation of my training series that I’ve been working on for Side Project Plan. I’ve been way too perfectionist on this. I’m now thinking ‘good enough’ to launch. Minimally viable.

Outside of those two deliverables, good enough for me means I’m not going to let myself off the hook with excuses. While I’m a big believer in the concept of Good, Better, Best in some arenas of life, I’m going to apply that principle where it makes sense, but let the rest of my life settle for good enough.

Get it about right, on time

Early in my career I had a new boss named Roland Griffith. He had just retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army upon taking over as a new Vice President in our company. He introduced us to the phrase: ‘Get it about right, on time.’

What he said to me personally about this, is that as his direct report, I needed to appreciate the discipline of timeliness and deadlines. If he, as my supervisor, wanted to review his team’s work and then grant them more time to edit it and give him a better version, that was up to him. Sometimes he might do that, others he might not have that flexibility.

So there’s my mantra.

The hip way of phrasing this today is to “ship.” To ship is to produce, to publish, to finally present the world with whatever you’re creating.

Seth Godin had some good thoughts on this idea of shipping things and avoiding the voice inside your head, The Resistance, that tells you all the reasons why you shouldn’t. Among them, obviously, is the idea that whatever you’re working on isn’t good enough.

I’ve worked on numerous side projects of my own and for others that were cringeworthy. I was able to overcome The Resistance and get something ‘good enough’ or ‘about right, on time’ before. Now I need to do that with Side Project Plan and the companion podcast I have in the works.

I need to let the first versions be good enough and then start digging in on version two.

That’s it for today. One thousand and thirty eight words.

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