Progress > Perfection

There’s a jewelry company that has inspirational quotes on pins, bracelets, and necklaces. I picked up one for a friend that read: progress over perfection. To be honest, most of my life they seemed to be one and the same. I felt the pressure to always be making progress, measurable progress, significant progress. I carried progress like a backpack loaded with hardbound books. And progress, for me, was perfection in blue jeans.

I knew I couldn’t be perfect, but I could stay busy. And busy was almost as good as perfection. However, busy is not part of my natural flow. I would rather think, analyze, plan, and observe. These all feel busy to me. But they don’t look busy to others. So I learned to look busy and measure progress.

Over the last few years, I have changed my definition of progress (and of busyness). I’ve learned that less can be more. Less stress. Less drama. Less clutter. Less on my to-do list. Less busyness allowed me to focus more on a few things. I discovered that I could go deeper. I saw how there was more richness and fullness. There was progress that could be measured and progress that was immeasurable because of its profundity.

2020 captured this reality better than any year I have lived through. There were fewer conversations, but deeper ones. There were less accomplishments, but ones that mattered more. There was nothing new, but it all seemed novel and momentous.

Now, here we are in 2021. There is within me a growing anticipation of potential progress. I set some goals and made a plan. But then I looked it over and realized it was too much. There is no margin. So I cut it all back and trimmed it some more.

This year there are only a few goals to measure and track. Here are my goals for 2021:

  1. Writing – I want to make progress as a writer. I have been blogging for ten years, but only recently considered myself a writer. So I’m looking for ways to challenge myself in quantity and quality. More words on paper. Better skills in writing. Discipline.
  2. Podcast – My goal includes 25-30 episodes and a few international guests.
  3. Dinner Church – Keep it up. Lean in. Help a few others do it, too.
  4. Self-care – Basically, my goal is to do whatever it takes to stay sane and not implode. Seems reasonable.

That’s it. These are my goals and my progress that I’m planning on in this new year. A year that is probably destined to look like 2020’s ugly stepsister. There are twelve months for me to make, measure, dream, plan, and execute. Only God knows where I will be on December 31st. And, today, I’m okay with it all.

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