I had a discussion with someone recently, and she mentioned what she called my incessant desire to improve, learn, grow, do things better. She asked, “Isn’t there a certain point when you accept yourself and feel okay that this is who you are? Will you ever stop seeing yourself as a project you’re constantly trying to improve? There should be a time when you stop and say, ‘I’m okay.’”
In her mind, that’s when you’re baked. When you accept yourself as is you’re “done,” and the project is complete.
If you aren’t at that point, you’re still opening the oven to see whether the bread rose and if it’s getting golden brown on top. Once it’s fully baked, you might eat it and say, “Well, I could have done a better job. It would have tasted better with a bit more salt.” And you make a new batch of dough and put it in the oven and hit “bake.”
How do you see yourself—half-baked, baked, a work in progress or a completed work?
Here’s the key: Accept yourself whether you are “done” or not!
I see myself as half-baked. I’m not a finished project. How could I be? I have many more years to live (God willing). As long as I’m alive, I’ll be a work progress.
However, I do accept myself the way I am. That doesn’t preclude knowing I have room for improvement or possessing the desire to improve.
Adding New Ingredients to the Recipe
In fact, as long as I remain half-baked, I’m malleable. I can be molded, changed, and improved. So that’s quite okay with me! I see this as adding new ingredients to the recipe that makes up me and my life.
For example, I currently spend too much time working, but I need to increase my income. Therefore, I want to change aspects of my work and how I do that work. Such alterations could require new ingredients, like a new type of coaching program. I look at the imbalance in my life and think, “Okay, if that’s what I want, then there are some things I could do differently or add that would free up time and help me earn more money per month.”
I okay, but I could be better. Maybe a little bit of seasoning…a different cooking temperature…a new cooking process. These will get me to great or fantastic.
I also know I could be healthier. I could be in better shape and eat in a way that allows me to drop 15 to 20 pounds. I accept myself the way I am—fitness level and weight. But I desire to weigh less and have more muscle and endurance. I want to know I can climb Mount Everest if I want—or feel strong and flexible no matter what I’m doing.
I’d also like to be more congruent. That means I want to walk my talk and express my true self. I believe I haven’t done either to the extent I could, and being more congruent would make me both happy and successful personally and professionally. I accept where I am, but I feel a strong push to step into my best self.
From Where You are to Where You Want to Be
Indeed, I see myself as a work in progress, but I accept where I am right now. And I continue progressing and improving. Each step of the way, I remind myself that I’m okay. But I could be great, and I strive for that.
Why? Because I know I’m here to live fully. That means with enthusiasm, courage, passion, love, joy, and fulfillment—as well as freedom. And that’s the type of life I want.
That’s a life lived as a high performer and what high performance is about—constant tweaking to help you live fully as your best self. High performers accept that they are “here” but really want to be “there.” Like them, you are okay with here, but your aspirations are there.
You accept that you’re here. You know that’s where you are, but you choose to move toward there. You don’t make here bad or wrong. You just set your aspirations on there and consistently step in that direction.
When you get there, you might say, “Hey, I’m okay being here, but there’s something else I’d like to do, somewhere else I’d no like to be, or somebody else I’d like to become.” Each time you move toward or arrive at there, you see yourself and your life from a different perspective. That changes your aspirations.
And so you choose to level up again…to move toward a new there. But here remains okay. You accept it while aspiring to be there.
Continually perfecting yourself and your life is part of being human and striving to reach your potential. We are all created with strong desires.
In Judaism, there is a saying that we should leave “a little bit undone.” If something is incomplete, we can work to complete it. But there will still be something else undone. Why? Because, just like everything in the universe, we are in a constant state of change. We are evolving.
I don’t think life is about being a completed work. Life is about being a work in progress. That’s evolution. As we evolve, we arrive at new desires, new aspiration, new opportunities to step into our best selves.
This week ponder these questions:
- Where in your life do you feel like you need to continue to perfect something?
- Are you content to stay as you are?
- What do you accept about yourself or your life?
- How do you feel about being half baked or baked?
You are a Manuscript
Think of yourself as a manuscript. At a certain point, the writer has to release that piece of written work into the world. It has to be deemed “done.” Could the writer do more work on it before publication? Of course.
Just like the manuscript, you always can be improved. Thus, you are a work in progress. But if no one reads the manuscript—you never release version one or two or three (or more) to the world, that’s the equivalent of not living your life. You have to put yourself out into the world.
That’s when the test marketing happens. Put yourself out there even if you think you could edit or revise a bit more, and see what happens. Publish the book called “You.”
Then you can say, “Oh, you know what? That paragraph could have been a little better. Maybe I need to work on that.” That’s the process of perfecting. You can make the changes and republish. Release the next edition or version.
Live as a Work in Progress
Push yourself past that feeling of I am still a work in progress, so I can’t live my life fully. Or I’m half-baked. Therefore, I have to stay in my oven.
Instead, tell yourself, I am where I am and who I am; I’m okay with me even though I know I can still improve. Then do whatever it is you want to do, and be who you are. See how it turns out and what has to be adjusted.
We’re all works in progress. I think it’s awesome that you want to continually improve, better yourself, learn new things, do new things, and to step into your best self. But don’t get stuck in improvement mode. Don’t feel you can’t move forward because you aren’t perfect.
Accept yourself. And decide to do something different in the next moment. Don’t be unhappy with where you are right now; don’t be hard on yourself, or judge yourself.
We’re always half-baked until we are baked. That’s when life ends. Until then, keep kneading the dough, trying new recipes, and seeing what comes out of the oven next.v
Do you accept yourself as half-baked or think you are baked?
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