Racing through our daily lives, maintaining the breakneck pace that seems essential to not sink in today’s economy (or with current standards for parenting), you are normal if you check out the competition. How is your neighbor doing? Or your coworker? Are you the only one treading water, trying not to get sucked into the undertow? This type of social comparison seems as essential to our self-image as the pace itself. And, like most of us, you are certain that you are the only one struggling. Everyone else seems to be breezing along, gaily checking off items on their “to do” lists, while you can’t find that shred of McDonald’s placement scribbled with the grocery list. It’s probably under the bed with the dust bunnies which are steadily approaching the size of county fair champion rabbits.
NEWS FLASH: Everyone is in the same boat. No one is achieving 110%. Everyone is compromising, economizing, or sighing at day’s end because something got dropped. I say it’s about time to give ourselves a grade based on the curve.
Remember grading on the curve in school? If a test was particularly difficult, and no one achieved a perfect score, the grading scale was adjusted. A score of 80% could then be the highest grade anyone received, and all the grades were raised accordingly.
In high school, I was the curve-wrecker. Called this lovely term by one and all, and factually it probably was true. But once real life hit (aka children), I lost–and have never regained– that ability to be on time, have all the dishes loaded, dust under the bed, balance the work load, throw the perfect party while I remodel the house and author a book. I maintain a facade just like everyone else. Once I allowed myself to switch gears and adopt a new strategy, the curve wrecker mentality happily fizzled out.
By my informal assessment, in my life and my office, we each heartily believe that we are the only person doing “B” work. Sounds to me like everybody is doing B work, and it’s time for the curve. The daily expectations are for perfection–A++, 110%–and by definition, that’s impossible.
Embrace that you are doing the best you can. It’s your best, and what others are achieving has nothing to do with you. But here’s the secret: no one is actually getting 100% done. Let’s just all admit that and activate that grading curve next time we are tempted to compare our accomplishments to the next person.