by Tracee Sioux
The good is the enemy of the best.
So says John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You. I’m reading the chapter on priorities as I try to balance my work, with my family, with my relatives, with my church, with my exercise, with my budget, with my friends, with my community involvement.
I’ve simply become uncomfortably busy and I dislike it. I think it’s costing me something.
My kids are upset when I work because they aren’t actually getting “quality” time, they are just getting run all over town doing good deeds for people, maintenance of life errands, going to the gym or expected to amuse themselves while I write.
They are with me, but without my attention.
I think everything I do is, in some way, important to someone. If it’s not an important activity for me, I find my husband thinks it’s vital.
Maxwell says the key to being a leader is to say no to the good and only say yes to the best. People who try to do everything, he says, are mediocre at everything. People who try to do one thing become great at that one thing.
I find myself being mediocre at a lot of things, late more often than I should be, and not being able to focus on the things I really want to do. Yet, I can’t help but feel guilty about the good things I say no to, like running errands for an elderly relative, babysitting a child whose parents are sick or teaching my daughter’s Sunday school class. It’s not just my guilt holding me back either, I find people’s reactions when I try to say no less than pleasant. Several times I’ve found people to be downright angry about my saying no to good things.
Yes, you can try to have it all, but you won’t be any good at it, seems to be the moral of the story. How women struggle with this issue.
Hopefully, my daughter’s generation will have more experience and history behind trying to have it all and will learn to choose what is best versus what is good. I can tell you it doesn’t feel at all empowering to be doing everything, just a little sloppily.