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