As a kid, there were lots of things I enjoyed – reading, riding my bike, playing “500” and “running bases” with the kids on my block. There were also lots of things I didn’t enjoy – school, homework, cleaning up.

Unsurprisingly, my mother had a really hard time getting me to do the things I didn’t like doing. And when I finally did do dishes, or my homework,  I always did a crappy job.

The code words that made me feel that I was off the hook

My mother would very easily become frustrated and yell at me, “either do it with all your heart or don’t do it at all.”

For me those were code words that meant that I was off the hook.

Why would I want to do something that was difficult or not fun? And why would I do it if I could just get away with not doing it?

So I quit. Sometimes it was dishes. But more often it was homework. There were so many assignments that I never handed in. You can imagine what my marks looked like in school and what those marks did to my self image.

Done is better than perfect

I managed to graduate an Ontario Scholar (meaning I had over an 80 average in my last year of high school), somewhat of a miracle for someone who was getting 50s and 60s until then.

It’s then, in my last year of high school that I suddenly began to understand how zeros impact averages. And only then that I began to understand that sometimes it’s better to just get things done. Buckle down, put your bum to the chair and slog.

It’s also then that I understood that done is better than perfect, though I didn’t quite articulate it to myself in those words.

Just do it. 

There’s a reason the Nike slogan “just do it” resonates with us. So many times we don’t want to do what is hard or what is right. We feel it demands too much of us, intention, attention, love, whatever. “Just do it,” says it’s ok, the only intention you have to have is to do the damn thing. Get it over with. The doing it is the accomplishment. Just focus on getting it done.

Entrepreneurial Insight

As an entrepreneur, I dare call myself one, I realize that intention does matter. But my intention is not to always love what I’m doing. I can hate how difficult something is, but decide that it’s important. And if it’s important that can be enough for me to have intent, and to put my entire heart into something.   

As an entrepreneur, your entire being is needed to get something done well. Intention is important. And yet done is better than perfect. We’re not perfect. We’re going to screw up and break things. It’s how we’re built. It’s how we’re wired.

Persistence above all

It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in. What matters is that you persist. Sometimes you’ll do a better job and sometimes it just won’t go so well for you. But if you can forgive yourself and keep your eye on the target, you’ll be totally fine.

And if you get stuck between doing it with all your heart or not doing it at all?

Yes it depends. But for the most part, as a guideline, I choose the latter.

If you’re doing something related to your passion, the passion will shine through, even through the rough patches. And even if you start out not really caring.

What do you think? Should you do it with all your heart or not at all?