A close friend of mine offered to share a piece of writing they were working on and I was thrilled to be trusted with it. When I received the document, I noticed my friend hadn’t written much in the body of the email, but had included “sorry if it’s not good” … and my heart shattered into a hundred little pieces.
Throughout my life, I’ve heard endless variations of this from some of my favorite people in the world—whether a culinary invention, a piece of writing, a new creative endeavor, or anything else that people undoubtedly put their whole heart into.
Since I received that email, I’ve had those words in my “blog queue” of things I want to write about. But still 6 months later, each time I try to write, the concept doesn’t sit right. Because the obvious post is to write some beautiful lesson about having confidence in your work or not apologizing for something you worked really hard on. But something about this wasn’t clicking.
And I think I’ve just realized why. I have also written or spoken some variation of “sorry if it’s not good” many times and in those moments, I don’t want the kneejerk response of my friend to be “no, it’s great!” I don’t want or need reassurance that it isn’t. I want permission to write something that isn’t good.
At 18, I remember sharing writing with a friend of mine. We’d email pieces back and forth and I tried to make sure that whatever I sent was the best of my best. I wanted to prove my worth as a “good writer.” And while there is certainly something to be said about proverbially putting your best foot forward, that doesn’t really make us better. That doesn’t challenge us. That doesn’t help us grow.
So let’s write something that sucks. Let’s try a new format, a new style, a new word. Let’s make up a recipe on the fly. Let’s try to pick up a new sport and let’s not care if we aren’t good at it.
There is so much beauty and opportunity in not pressuring ourselves to be perfect.
So here’s your permission slip. Do something terribly wrong this week. See what you learn. And from there, well, maybe you’ll inadvertently find yourself on the way to something great.