Myrtle’s Mantra

Myrtle's MantraUntil recently, I would have described myself as a self-confessed perfectionist. I believed that if a job was worth doing, then it was worth doing to the highest standard.


I’d often find myself putting in extra hours to achieve this standard, and then once completed, I’d move on to the next task, putting in equal amounts of effort and time. I saw my behaviour as an expression of my commitment and my conscientiousness and I prided myself in producing top quality work.


Suddenly, my workload and responsibilities increased, and I began to struggle to meet deadlines. With a threatened decrease in my performance and productivity, I started working even longer hours, and as a consequence, my life work balance tipped. I began to experience feelings of overwhelm and noticed the arrival of physical symptoms of stress.


Something had to give…Either I take a long hard look at my life work balance and make necessary adjustments, or continue along this path of dis-ease.


And then it occurred to me, the mantra of a close friend (now retired) “Good Enough” – her stock response when things in life didn’t quite match her hopes, expectations or standards, but produced a good enough result nevertheless. Little did I know, that such a simple phrase held the seeds for a complete paradigm shift in my thinking.


And so I asked myself ‘How could I use Myrtle’s mantra “Good Enough” to temper my standards and expectations of myself?’….And this is what came back…. I realised that:

  • I was being driven by fear. Fear of failing to meet my own expectations and standards and therefore fear of my own judgement.

  • My 50% is other people’s 100%.

  • “Good Enough” is not the language of the lazy, but the pragmatic

  • Anything I did, would always have room for improvement

  • A highly polished piece of work doesn’t necessarily bring better results

  • I have the power to choose the standards I set for myself


These days I approach every task with a question ‘What would good enough look like?’ and I work back from there. This simple, yet profound adjustment has had a significant impact on my approach to my working style and energy. My performance and productivity have increased, I have a better life /work balance, and I no longer feel overwhelmed or stressed.


What simple adjustments could you make that would have a disproportionately positive impact on your life and work?


Let’s make life work!




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