Everyone looks at me and assumes I am this perfectly tuned, disciplined machine because I run marathons, win martial arts championships, run a high activity practice and write every day. That I’ve got it all figured out and can balance kids, health, work, charity and relationships not realizing that I am on a unicycle that’s on fire while juggling chainsaws and trying to avoid the potholes filled with dynamite.
Every day is chaos, I have just become comfortable managing it and making sure that the important things get done and the whole shebang doesn’t explode. Most days it doesn’t.
I use my SAMSuite to manage my activities and my CRM to keep track of notes and set reminders. I use the pomodoro method with writing, and have learned to say “No” to a ton of things because the Good is the enemy of the Great. I read then workout as soon as I get up to get it done, and try to eat my frog early at the office daily.
I still don’t get it right all the time.
As a gifted kid we were brainwashed in the cult of perfection, that anything less than 100% was failure. As an athlete I adopted this mentality and it pushed me to excellence but reinforced my unreasonable standards of myself, a benchmark that often makes me “too much” to others because I demand excellence of myself and expect those that I surround myself with to put forth max effort often. That all you have to do is suck it up and go and it will all work out.
As one of my former partners said: I’m not you.
And I didn’t want them to be me, and especially not the idealized illusion of me. But I did want them to be a better version of themselves, instead of the worst version they became through laziness (mental, emotional, and physical). Sitting back on previous achievements is a path to degeneration. I rarely sit back and enjoy what I’ve done because I want to be Tony Stark and I’m not. Nor will I ever be, but I can strive to be and adopt some of his better aspects while avoiding his worst. I can be better than my worst, if not reaching my best every day.
Some days are rough. We all get beaten down, by that client that decides to listen to uninformed and biased advice from an unqualified individual and decides to not listen to the us as the expert (then gets angry at us). By the daily grind of doing what we know it takes to build a business, with little or no positive feedback as we do the little things right over and over and over without any accolades or production appearing. By the weather, and the once again kids on remote learning for the week. All the pressures, the little frictions in our well-oiled machine that could bring it to a screeching halt.
And most days we push onward and through. We slog on, doing what we need to do, looking forward to that rest and respite down the road. Sometimes we mentally check out for a few minutes and see ourselves on the beach in Tahiti with blue water and a drink in hand, swinging in the hammock to the breeze. Once in a while it is fantasizing about just throwing the computer out the window (defenestration, my second favorite word btw), or dowsing those reports in gasoline and striking a match. We’ve all been there, taking those little moments of escapism to deal with the all too real reality.
And then we get back to work, doing what we need to do.
I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. The world and people can suck. Marcus Aurelius reminded himself of this every morning. He focused on doing the best he could at the task at hand, and that works really well most of the time.
Not everything goes right. In fact most things don’t. We all wish that our kids would pick up their room or do the chores even a quarter of the times we ask. That our favorite baseball player could get a hit even a third of the time. That even half the clients would listen to us.
So I can’t be perfect as much as it gnaws at me. Every day is not rainbows and six introductions and leprechauns bringing me pots of gold and Guinness whilst riding T Rexes decked out for the Yankees Championship parade after I write the greatest love poem ever. Some days are carrying the weight of the world and expectations while slogging through the swamps of despair and faking a smile. Once in a while it’s “screw it” and doing the bare minimum and escaping to that beach in Tahiti for long stretches in my mind and eating cupcakes.
Just do the best you can, as often as you can. If I can do what I am supposed to do 90% of the days I’ll hit my goals and have a great month and year and life. So I try my best to do what I need to do today, and set it up so I can tomorrow too. Not every day is perfect or even good. But if most of them can be pretty good, we’re all doing ok. And that’s alright, even if we drop one of the chainsaws.