As I said earlier this week, my husband is installing bookshelves in our living room. It’s the big build. The prototypes went in last spring and I LOVE them. The big build is so much more exciting and so much more pressure!
My husband is an incredibly detail-focused person. And yet, after installing the base cabinets, he was horrified to see a quarter-inch gap appear. Something was not level somewhere. Of course, we could fill it with a shim, but then as the weight of the shelves filled up with books, the entire built-in would end up sagging.
He’s put so much time and effort into these bookcases that he tore them out this morning, releveled the entire base unit, and reinstalled. No more quarter-inch gap this time around. The base unit is properly leveled and there ain’t no sagging going to happen! No way!
I remarked that this is so how it goes with our work (and by our work, I mean the work we were born to do; our passions, our attempts, our failures) because doing everything perfectly all the time takes all the joy out of it. If we know it won’t fail, it’s not as great a risk. There’s no vulnerability on the line!
Work, attempted honestly, sometimes has to be torn out. Work, when we’re genuinely pursuing authentic experience, sometimes has to be rejected. Sometimes we have to fail in order to succeed.
I watched my husband go to bed last night disappointed in himself. For what? It just took a few extra hours and he was back on track. The only thing bruised was his ego and his expectations.
I think we need to bruise our egos. I think we need to batter our expectations. Life and work don’t happen on our understanding. They happen when we’re not actually expecting anything.
This weekend, try something and be courageous. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again.
Make it an adventure!