Turns Out You Don’t Have to Get It Right the First Time

Growing up in my family there was a lot of emphasis on “getting it right”.

Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

Do it right, the first time.

If you don’t do it right, it’s not worth doing.


These thoughts were drummed into my head quite regularly, until I started believing them, and accepting them as facts. Through the different phases and stages of my life doing it right has played a pretty big role, not just a role, it’s been a necessity for not only me, but those around me.

dont have to do it rightCan I just say right now… people don’t really enjoy having to be my kind of right. :/

Over the years I have tried to find ways loosen my grip on this necessity, and even let it go. I’m much better than I used to be, but not cured by a long shot. I have loosened up around certain things and with some people.

I don’t expect Hanna to fold the towels “right”. Though I do still believe there is a right way lol. I do not undo the towels and fold them my right way when she’s finished folding them. I can appreciate they still fit on the rack, and she spent time and energy doing it. I have eased up about how her homework gets done. I definitely do believe there is a right way for that… but since she’s getting straight A’s I guess if she lays on the couch as apposed to at the table it’s not hurting her any.

I’ve let go of the fact that the right way, for everyone, to read books is to read one book at a  time until you’re finished and then start the next one. (Though I do still believe that’s the right way to read books lol). Hanna reads at least 5 books at a time… but she gets good grades on all her tests so I guess her brain can handle it.

She’s been quite a help with this whole do it right thing really. She does things totally “wrong” from my perspective, and yet she is quite successful. Watching her succeed while doing things completely wrong made me really stop and think about what is right. It made me start questioning the validity of my so called facts.

And then, there’s the tagline. The other thing that has raised its hand to be a lesson for me about doing things right. Yeah, it might seem like a small thing, but the tagline and I have almost become mortal enemies at points on this journey. You know how they say things will keep showing up until you learn the lesson? I feel that’s the purpose of my site’s tagline. And this lesson hasn’t always felt all that great, and it’s starting to feel pretty wonderful.

A situation keeps repeating until you learn the lesson

When I started this site, it was a departure from what I’ve done all my years online. I made the header a little jokey, the tagline was a little flippant. I needed it to feel light, and not so important, because somewhere in my heart I knew this was going to be one of the most important things I’ve done in my life, and I was scared to death.

I started writing. My very first post blew up, and people started coming to the site. It didn’t take very long before I was not feeling quite right about the header. The feeling. The tone. I wanted this site to be something important, something special… and the way it was set up just wasn’t doing it for me.

Since I’d turned those thoughts about doing it right into facts, I assumed everyone was working with the same facts. And if everyone was working from my facts, I was certain there would be a lot of judging going on that I hadn’t gotten it right the first time.

I hemmed and hawed, worried about what people would think, talked to friends, and finally changed the header and tagline.

I announced the change to my list, and kept on writing. I didn’t receive any negative feedback about my apparent inability to be consistent and get things right. In fact, I got some positive feedback about the new direction.

Not too long after that, things started to not feel quite “right” again. I hemmed and hawed, beat myself up about my inability to get things right the first (or second) time, and finally decided to change the tagline again. You see, for some crazy reason, when things aren’t in alignment I can’t write. I have yet to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing… maybe it just is what it is, and it’s really frustrating. The tagline no longer matched what I felt, what I wanted to do, and I couldn’t write.

I debated, deliberated, chicken scratched and erased until at last, I created the perfect tagline. I finally got it right.

Feelings of elation. Notes went out to the list.

I began writing again.

Until a short time later when it didn’t feel quite right again, and I found myself unable, once again, to write.

This time, instead of beating myself up, well… beating myself up a little less, and giving myself some space to think a little differently, I began to realize this whole project was started because I was taking a journey. A journey, by one definition is, “Passage or progress from one stage to another”. How on earth can I expect what works in stage one to necessarily work 3 stages later? Since I started this journey I have changed. I have grown. I have learned. It’s only reasonable that my site, and my tagline might change with me. 

It’s happened a few more times… the need to change the tagline. I still feel a little guilty about it each time it happens, but now I’m understanding that it’s part of my journey, and the growth of this site. I was recently taking a look at my about page. I do this from time to time to see if I’m still on track with why I started this whole thing in the first place. The comments reflected excitement about the journey I was taking, excitement about seeing where it takes me… there was nothing in there that said… you better get it right the first time or we’re not coming back.

{Big sigh of relief}

It’s a practice. All of it. I am grateful for my tagline providing me such a concrete way to practice kindness and compassion for myself, and in so doing, allowing me to be more compassionate toward others.

This morning I knew it was finally sinking in. I was talking via instant message with my accountability partner and she is changing her accountability structure. Instead of being annoyed that she’s not sticking with the original plan I was excited to see what she came up with… and I found myself saying,  “Just try it out. See how it feels. If you don’t like it… we can change it later.”

And as the words came out of my fingers I knew it was an important moment. You don’t have to get it right the first time. You will be ok if you have to amend, revise, rewrite, redo, change it completely, however many times it takes until it feels good and works for you. The other thing I realized through this process… the rest of the world is probably NOT working from my “fact” framework (or yours). Quite frankly, I think it was only me who even noticed I’d changed anything. 😉

In the end, I keep reminding myself… thoughts are not facts. Just because you think something, and have thought it for an extraordinary period time doesn’t make it a fact, it really is, just a thought. Thoughts can change, in the blink of an eye… just sit in meditation for 5 minutes and you’ll have all the proof you need. 😉


Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *