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Last night, I had one of those dreams when I’m back in school and haven’t gone to a certain class most of the semester (usually history or math), and it’s finals time. Except this time, there was a twist. I wasn’t so concerned about my classes. Instead, I had two different children come up to me and ask me to donate to a project at their school. I looked at the flier from the first little girl and considered her request. She was asking for $25, and I only had $20, so I said I couldn’t give right now. The second girl, Annie (the real-life daughter of a friend), also asked me for $25, and I asked her to come back later.
Annie then turned to another friend who was sitting on the edge of the auditorium stage and asked her for a donation. My friend reached into her purse and gave Annie a dollar.
Annie said, “well, somethin’s better than nothin’!”
That’s when the light bulb came on. I looked at my friend and said, “Hey, wait a minute! I don’t have to give her the full amount!! I can give her what I have!” I asked my friend for change for my $20 bill and gave Annie $5, feeling satisfied that somethin’ was better than nothin’.
I know exactly where this dream came from. Before falling asleep, I was reading a book that was alternately interesting and overly academic. I usually slog through the parts that leave my brain feeling numb because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Then I remembered a lesson I learned from my book group friends. A recent book selection had parts that frustrated some of the members, so they SKIPPED parts of the book.
I confessed to the group, “It doesn’t occur to me that it’s OK to skip over parts. You’re telling me it is!?” (You can just imagine what that book-ripping scene from “Dead Poet’s Society” did to me!)
So last night, I scanned through to quickly finish the laborious chapter I was reading so that I could get to the good stuff that I was interested in. And guess what? The world didn’t come to screeching halt. The author didn’t suddenly leap out of the book and yell “What the heck ya doin’?!” And I proceeded with my reading, happily scampering among the words instead of slogging.
[pullquote]Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something. ~Thomas A. Edison[/pullquote]
The bottom line? Life is not all or nothing… it’s a whole lot of something. And I don’t have to research the rules, policies and procedures before I do something new (for instance, this morning, I sliced into my first honeydew melon; I had to resist the temptation to log on and Google “how to cut honeydew melon” to make sure I was doing it the “right” way. A post-breakfast search yielded “about 514,000” results).
We learn the rules so that we know how and when to apply them. With common sense and good intentions, we usually do the thing that satisfies society while honoring our own needs and values.
We’re given perimeters ($25 donation, please) so that we can make a choice. It’s an opportunity to negotiate, to move past “either/or” and figure out the “both/and” solution.
So, I’m taking my dream to heart. Whether it has to do with my business or my personal life, I’m going to remember that something is better than nothing. If I spend time worrying about the rules, or whether it’s perfect, I’ll never move forward.
Life is a negotiation, with myself and others. If I don’t negotiate – if I accept everything at face value – I’ll become what others expect me to be, rather than who I really am.
It really all comes down to a simple statement: I am enough. We are all enough, and what we have to give is enough. $5, $25, $2,500… if it comes from our heart, it’s enough.