Reminder: You Don’t Have to Be Good at Everything You Like Doing

Reminder: You Don’t Have to Be Good at Everything You Like Doing

The original title of this post was “You Don’t Have to be Great at Everything You Like Doing” but then I thought “Forget that. You don’t even have to be good – at all – at stuff you like for it to still be worth doing.”

Important announcement: This post is not encouraging anyone to sidestep rules that are in place for public safety. If you like doing things that require a special license such driving a semi truck or dispensing prescription medications, you DO need to be good at that. My particular job (which I like on most days) falls in that category, so I take being good at it very seriously.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

In this era where many hobbies become side hustles and the internet makes it look like all your friends (and their obnoxiously cute children) are super good at everything, it’s easy to forget these simple truths: Fun can be had just for the sake of fun, and you can do things you like just because you like them. You do not have to attach recognition, awards, or a dollar value to an activity for it to be worthwhile.

This mindset is especially important as it applies to activities that allow you to push your physical limits, express your creativity, enjoy the outdoors, or spend time with loved ones.

To prove that I’m speaking from a place of experience, here are snapshots of my reality in all of those categories:

Pushing Physical Limits

If you scroll through my Facebook page and don’t otherwise know me, you might assume we are a family of badass outdoors people who have unlimited time available to train for races, summit mountains, and do other epic activities that justify Stinger gummies… and you might assume that all of this comes naturally to us.

The reality is that every perfectly-captured moment you see is very hard-earned. We are not part of the Outdoor Elite. There is literal blood and sweat behind every one of those pictures. And tears. I have been made to cry – plenty of times – on running trails, ski runs, and mountain biking routes.

Yes, we are okay at athletic stuff… but we’re not holding our breath for a Cliff Bar sponsorship or a cover photo on Backpacker magazine. We know these things are good for us, we like a challenge, and it’s fun (most of the time). So we keep at it.

Expressing Creativity

No one will ever accuse us of being an artistic household. We are not singers or writers or painters. The kids do not have a craft room. The only instruments in the house are the ones my teenager got during the two months he thought he wanted to join the school band (he did not).

On the more domestic side of creativity: I rarely cook anything from a recipe and I don’t have a Pinterest account. We do happen to be building a new house, but that is not so much a creative outlet as it is a series of expensive private lessons with a contractor.

This blog is currently my most creative outlet. I get to write what I want. I get to take and edit photos. But it doesn’t make me any money or produce any other concrete benefit for me. I do it because it’s enjoyable and I like it. That’s it.

Enjoying the Outdoors

See above. The outdoors makes me cry as often as not. It’s still worth it, people. Get out there.

Spending Time With Loved Ones

This one takes the cake as far as “things I like that I’m not always good at”.

I LOVE spending time with my friends and family. Love it. I’m an extrovert and my love language is quality time, so spending time with my loved ones is my preferred activity always.

But I still forget to call or text people when I should. I don’t drag my kids to to every family holiday party, graduation party, wedding, and baby baptism that we’re invited to (in my defense, a lot of these invitations are just gift-grabs by people who otherwise never really talk to us).

Despite the nice family photo you’ll see on the holiday card this year, our teenager still slams his door at us all the time over injustices like bedtime and required showering, and our toddler still flops and wails about things like not being allowed to play in the recycle bin. And I still over-react to my kids’ behavior.

A note on travel, which is often what people think of they think of “time with their loved ones”: Please know that the above still goes on when you travel. Unless you choose to cut all complex relationships out of your life, travel will not get you away from crying kids, pointless arguments, or the emotional roller coasters that are inherently part of knowing other people.

The Takeaway

If you skimmed everything else, slow down for a sec and read this last part.

This is something my parents taught me, which is especially important for those of us that are Type A Overachievers:

“You can’t be in the top 2% of everything. You will have the time, energy, and skill to truly excel at two, maybe three things. Be intentional about which things you choose.”

Be amazing at the things that matter.

And then enjoy the fact that there are lots of things that you like in life – and that you are just okay at most of them.

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