We all know the phrase, “Practice makes perfect” and “Perfect practice makes perfect.” However, it usually provides no solace when all you do is practice and it never gets perfect. But of course, being the optimistic people that we are, we keep positive believing that it will get better. But it doesn’t. All it gets is worse and even more frustrating. Unfortunately, sometimes we need to accept that our best isn’t good enough.
In a perfect world, all our handwork will pay off after a few weeks of dedication bringing us to the top. But in this not-so-perfect world, we sometimes never make it to the top and instead fall flat on our butts. At that point, we have one of two options: 1. accept the reality that you’re not good enough and give up. or 2. keep your chin up while continuing to practice till your best is good enough.
Two days ago I fell into the option 1 category. Yes, I was on the verge of giving up and breaking down. In fact, I did breakdown. And it was all because I was not good enough when it came to dancing and memorizing choreography. I have the pleasure of dancing for the Trenton Freedom football team. Each week we learn new dances and I was in the back for most of those dances praying that one day I’d make it to the front. Of course, after weeks of hoping I’d make it to the front I failed miserably. Despite practicing the routine for weeks, I couldn’t get the choreography correctly leading to my demotion. Yes, I lost my spot at the front of the pyramid because my best wasn’t good enough. I felt embarrassed. I felt hurt. I felt frustrated. I felt defeated. Most of all, I felt like a failure.
It broke my heart to know that no matter how many hours I spent practicing this routine, I couldn’t get it. My inability to get the routine cost me the coveted spot in the front center spot of the field. I wish I could say I dusted my shoulders off and kept at it after the devastating news. But I did the exact opposite. I ran to the bathroom trying to hold back tears as I accepted my reality of not being able to cut it as a professional dancer. I was so hurt and disappointed over my poor performance that I was barely present for the rest of practice.
The bad feelings and the desire to quit continued into the next morning. In fact, I got very close to calling the dance team coordinator to apologize and resign… until I reminded myself why I wanted to be there and what I did to make it. Just to make it on the team, I had to audtion and practice a routine. That meant the coordinators had already seen something special me. They saw my potential. The last thing I wanted to do was give up and make them think my potential was non-existent.
Despite the disappointment, I decided to keep at it and reevaluate. Obviously, I lost my spot because I was doing something wrong. I had to change my method of learning choreography. Each time I practiced, I would run the routine over and over while watching television. Maybe it was time for me to eliminate the unnecessary and just focus on the choreography.
Next, I tried to pinpoint the problem. There had to be a reason why the choreography wasn’t sticking despite all the practice. Clearly, my memory was a problem. To rectify, I had to be willing to learn how improve my muscle memory and recount choreography accurately.
The last step, though the easiest to recognize, just might have been the hardest to conquer. I needed to get out of my head. Clearly, I let the pressure of being in the front center spot get to me. I let it bother me so much that I fumbled steps I already knew, and made myself believe I couldn’t do it. Of course, that only lead to me screwing up the routine and disappointing myself upon realizing my best wasn’t good enough. Instead, I need to stop overthinking the routine and my abilities so I could believe that I really can do it.Sure my best wasn’t good enough to keep my spot as the center stage dancer. But if I’m going to be a stage right dancer, I’m going to be the best stage right dancer that stadium has ever seen.
So I challenge you to live like me. The next time your best isn’t good enough, reevaluate, find the problem, believe in yourself and shine like the start you are. You may not be the star, but that doesn’t have to stop you from putting on a good show.
What do you do when your best isn’t good enough? Have you ever wanted to quit?
TERRIfic Quip: It’s a slow process. Don’t make it slower by quitting.