When “good enough” is plenty


My favorite morning ritual is to go for a walk and get coffee and then walk home. There is something about starting my day this way that just helps. Since I work from home, my “walk for coffee” is a transitional element — it smooths that space between waking and working.

But: the coffee at the places within walking distance just doesn’t really do it for me. Oh, there are many. Major chains, smaller independent places. But something is lacking in the taste of the coffee. It’s either too strong or too weak or it’s not quite the right flavor. Blah!

A few months ago I became obsessed with finding coffee that I could love. I was tired of paying for coffee I wasn’t thrilled with. I convinced myself that if I had better-tasting coffee to start my day, the day would go better. Like, way better.

So I decided to try just making my coffee at home. I did lengthy searches, read copious reviews, and found some fancy new flavors. And I was able to create the coffee I wanted, for the most part. And I felt satisfied. Sort of.

But: the walk. It was missing! And my morning walk is huge for me. It jump-starts my day. It connects me with the creative impulse, with birds, with squirrels and trees. It gets my body moving.

So: I decided I’d make my coffee at home, and then take it with me on my walk.

But: this didn’t work either.

Because: I like going into a coffee place and having that simple interaction with people. There is something about going into a place, talking to people a bit — just a bit, not too much — holding the door, that simple exchange — staring at the bulletin boards, smelling the coffee smells — I like all that. It connects me with the world. I need it.

So, I sat with this coffee conundrum, marveling that this seemingly small thing — really good coffee — had started to take up so very much space in my daily life.

And, eventually, I realized this: the perfect coffee just didn’t really matter that much.

Yes, it would be nice to have the coffee of my dreams on a daily basis, but it was the entirety of the experience I truly needed — walk/coffee/nature/people — and not really the coffee itself. Coffee was only one piece of a bigger thing — my foundational morning ritual.

I also realized something else: In preoccupying myself with my search for the perfect coffee, I was less available — even if only slightly — to the parts of my life that are more important to me. To the parts of my life where, perhaps, I need to take more risks and dial up my commitment. Or simply experience more presence, more of the “enough” of the here and now.

And so, I decided to let it go.

And you know what? Since I let it go, I am totally fine with my coffee, wherever I get it.

Sure, I will probably stumble on amazing coffee somewhere I don’t usually go, that is not near where I live (like the coffee they served at the Indian restaurant that went out of business!), and I will wish I could replicate that taste somehow.

But while fulfilling my desire for the perfect coffee would be nice, it’s not essential.

When it comes down to it, I’m okay with coffee that is good enough.


The coffee example is a simple one, but I see a version of this a lot with my clients, who sometimes feel like they need to hit upon the perfect product, or class, or book, or coach (or, in some cases, life path!) in order to feel like they’re really on their way.

While it is important in certain cases to find a great fit, sometimes it’s okay for the fit to be “good enough.”

(If we’ve struggled with perfectionism, and its shady sister, procrastination, we may use a tendency to hold out for the “perfect fit” as a way of keeping ourselves from showing up in ways that scare us. Check out the categories on the right to find my previous posts on perfectionism. )

Pouring energy into these non-essential areas may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually a huge drain on our creative energy to search for perfect when we already have enough.

And even when we are dealing with an area that is truly essential, like a central relationship or the pursuit of our soul’s work, the “search for perfect” can serve as an exquisite distraction from what is already available to us.

Do you see areas like this in your life,  where you’re looking for perfect when “good enough” would suffice? I’d love to hear how you experience this.

Need some support in making your creative work a priority in your life? I’d love to help. Click here to see if we might be a good fit. 

Above image © Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

16 thoughts on “When “good enough” is plenty

  1. It’s hard letting go of the “perfect” things we want. But absolutely nothing is perfect, including myself. Accepting that I’m good enough is opening up the world for me. Thanks for this great reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan, I am also finding that the more I accept myself as I am, the more the world opens up. It’s pretty awesome! Thanks for reading, I’m glad it resonated for you! 🙂


  2. Jill, I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for this glimpse into your daily life – I love posts that feature specific, real-world examples like this. I definitely deal with the same internal struggle of striving for perfection in every choice … and yet it can be SO freeing to accept “good enough”.

    Recently I’ve been enjoying Christel Nani’s book, Sacred Choices, in which she discusses the importance of rewriting one’s tribal beliefs. One of my rewrites goes as follows:

    Limiting belief that causes stress and struggle: I need to choose the VERY BEST possible option at all times (be it in restaurants, movies, tasks, etc).

    Rewrite: It is reasonable to believe that I will not always know in advance what the very best option is; sometimes I will just need to try something and see what happens.

    🙂 So thank you again for this post, which helps to drive home that new belief!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I love your rewrite of that limiting belief, Caroline! (And that belief is definitely one of mine as well!) So true that we cannot always know in advance what the best option is — there are a lot of cases where we simply can’t because we’re not omniscient! I will have to check out that book — sounds fascinating and I love title. Thanks for sharing — a big YES to the freedom of “good enough” (I think only recovering perfectionists can truly understand that freedom!) 🙂


  3. Oh Jill, nail on the head! This has been a big issue for me recently, as I have not been able to do my work (cooking, running a kitchen in a retreat centre) to the standard I’d like for at least six months because of under staffing, and I have found it so difficult to embrace ‘good enough’. What I’ve realised is that people value a kind, calm, happy person to live and work with far more than they value the perfect meal. Doh?! Who knew?! Seriously, I think ‘good enough’ is such a vital mantra, and I’m lucky that it’s not usually needed for me in creative endeavors, more the work related or personal development areas of my life. Hmmm, now I need that walk and a coffee! Love and gratitude, Harula xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally relate to that feeling of not being able to meet our own standards due to circumstances beyond our control, Harula. It’s so frustrating! But what a great realization: that what the people around you really value is being around kind, calm, happy energy. Isn’t that the truth?! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, as always. 🙂


    • Thanks, Dana — I’m glad this was a helpful reminder for you! I get so tangled up in the tiny details myself, I need this reminder frequently, that’s for sure! 🙂


  4. I loved the coffee story! Like Caroline mentioned, I really enjoy real life examples. And right now I’m procrastinating on a course I’m creating because it feels like such an important piece of my work {the cumulation of the last eight years! So nothing major! ;)}, each time I go to do it I start worrying it won’t be as good as it is in my mind. Even though I’ve already written six courses and know I can tweak as I go, and that people always get something out of them. In a way I love that all the parts of the process – great and not so great – happen even when you’ve been doing something for years; it helps me stay aligned with the struggles my course participants experience. And I’m breaking the cycle tomorrow! {If that sounds like an excuse, it’s evening while I’m reading this!}

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tara! I definitely hear you — I have at least two projects in the works right now that I know deep down are “good enough” but I keep changing things because they don’t quite match what I’d envisioned for them initially — grrr. (At some point I realize I’m not making them better, just different.) I notice that the more “important” something feels to me, the more I can spin my wheels, whereas if I’m “just playing with it”, I tend to finish it and move on to the next thing.

      I agree with you about the process — we do learn from all parts of it, the joyful and the humbling! Wishing you the best with this course — I have no doubt it will be terrific and your participants will get tons from it. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing, as always!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean about not better, just different! Reminds me of something I heard another artist say recently – that you can tell when a painting’s complete because everything you’re adding is so small it’s not making any difference. 🙂 Pretty sure that applies to any creative endeavour! And you’re right; if we can stay in a play mindset {or beginner’s mind perhaps}, it takes the pressure off and makes it easier to continue. Definitely going back into my course with that frame of mind now! And thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This from your artist friend — “you can tell when a painting’s complete because everything you’re adding is so small it’s not making any difference” — is a great way of putting it, Tara! And yes, it definitely applies to any creative endeavor, I think. 🙂


Comments are closed.