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Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

How do you know when to stop working on a project and decide you’ve done a “good enough” job to accomplish your goals?
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.



Five Key Takeaways for Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

1. Realizing when something is “good enough”

Last week, we made a lot of progress on the designs of the new WAIM Dashboard, and our Narticles designs, but something we came up against many times is the idea of when are the designs good enough. How do we negotiate how much effort and detail to put into something? On one hand, the conscientious part of us says: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, but the entrepreneurial part of us says: don’t overthink it, get the quickest best version you can complete so you can move forward and adapt in the future. We wanted to talk through our feelings about that and what it’s like to identify your own “good enough” standard in your work and the process of constantly adjusting it.

If you, like us, are trying to accomplish so much this year, there has to be some give and take when you decide whether something meets your standard. What determines for you whether the thing is complete enough? Is it good enough that you can go ahead and get it out into the world?

2. Letting go of the “much better version”

Quantity is often what helps you because of the iterations that you go through. You realize no one thing defines the quality of your work. For example, in building a software product like our second business, Teachery, there are limitations because we can’t build it by ourselves; we have to rely on somebody else. Then they also have the limitations of being able to do something to a certain degree. Building and improving Teachery has really shown us how the limitations of software creation can challenge perfectionism (especially coming from courses/digital products where you can focus on all details).

For you, it could be something like making 50 Instagram reels versus making just one. Of course, you’re going to take you forever to make the one because you’re only going to make one. But if you commit to making 50, then the first one doesn’t matter (and doesn’t necessarily have to take you longer) because you have to make the second one and then the third one, and so on.

3. Getting to 80% done and setting time containers

We think time constraints are extremely helpful in setting your own standard. When you find it hard to trust when you are going to complete a task or project, having a time container can help you determine what your line is. The sooner you can arrive at a place that feels good enough, the sooner you can move on to the next project and try to tackle that. If you can get it 80% of the way to where you want it, the other 20% can be tiny iterations that you can add to over time.

Jason thought back to his own history with the idea of “good enough” and working almost to perfectionism. This first challenged him during the IWearYourShirt days because every day he had a new company that he was making a YouTube video for and he HAD to hit publish. Having that time constraint forced perfectionism out of his work because it simply wasn’t possible with the daily time constraint.

4. Breaking down “good enough” into your own value and defining your minimum standard

Eve Rodsky’s book Fair Play also talks about this idea in her framework, which is called minimum standard. It is about agreeing on what the minimum standard is that you are willing to aim for a particular task/project. A good exercise would be breaking that idea of good enough down into parts and asking, for example, “In relation to my values as a business, what actually would be my minimum standard for a project that I want to get out the door?”

For us and our values, we would ask:

5. Understanding different standards for different projects

You’re good enough for your first published book is going to be very different than your good enough for a PDF that you’re trying to add to an email lead capture on your website. In the same way, our good enough for our offer and our membership (WAIM Unlimited) is going to look different and probably will be on a higher sliding scale not just because we’re striving for excellence but also because we’re not going to be able to redo it again for some time. If we can hit that 80% mark, anything that feels like it falls in the 20% of that is less vital.

There’s also an element here of time. When you’re new at something, your good enough standard is lower because you need to get it out there and get some feedback (iterate, iterate, iterate!) If you feel like you’re not able to keep up with people you follow who have been in business for longer than you, it’s only normal because you don’t have the same time invested, lessons learned, and previous experiences to guide you. Make sure you’re not comparing your STARTING LINE to someone else’s FINISH LINE.

🌟 NEW THING: Behind the Build LIVE 🌟

If you are reading this on or before February 16, this is the last day to purchase access to Behind the Build Live for pay-what-you-want at $25 minimum. This is our live, behind-the-scenes experiment, where you get to watch us redesign our Wandering Aimfully homepage AND build a new strategic lead magnet…. all in ONE day!

You’re going to see the blank page go from blank to bullet points to tasks. You’re going to see us decide what good enough looks like in real-time. So if you want to check that out and if it is still February 16 (or before), go to wanderingaimfully.com/behind.


Show Notes for Episode 156: Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

If you’re anything like us it can feel like a project is never quite done. There’s always SOMETHING you can continue to tweak, design, edit, etc. But, we all know not finishing a project and moving on is a form of procrastination and perfectionism (we’re very guilty of this!) So, what the heck do you do and how do you embrace a “good enough” mindset in your standard of work?

We believe we’ve found three ways to help you define what “good enough” can look like in your work. We’re using those three ways for our own work and moving projects forward so they don’t drag on forever! Hopefully, what we share in this episode can help you if you’re like us and can get stuck in the weeds with your business.


Full Transcript of Episode 156: Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Hello there, friend. Just a quick little pop in here. Before we get into the episode, we wanted to let you know about something really cool that’s happening today, and you might not have heard about it. We are doing a little live experiment called Behind the Build Live, where…

Jason: I’m also here. This is exciting. I’m just listening, though.

Caroline: Behind the Build Live is where we take you behind the scenes as we try to redesign our Wandering Aimfully home page and design a new strategic lead magnet. All in one day. Yeah, it’s just the two of us. We’re trying to get the best quality version of this thing out and into the world, which is very topical for today’s episode.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So if you are listening to this on February 16.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: You will be able to still join us live.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: By going to wanderingaimfully.com/behind.

Jason: Which is a funny URL.

Caroline: That’s very silly.

Jason: And you can pay what you want, which is a fun little thing.

Caroline: There’s a $25 minimum. But.

Jason: Yeah, but you have to buy on February 16 or before. I mean, you’re going to hear this on February 16, so there was no chance for you to buy before unless you heard this in the past. Oh, wow, we’re going to time travel. Anyway, if you hear this after February 16, sorry, you can’t buy. You missed it. That’s okay. We want to do this again in the future.

Caroline: Yeah. And so our idea is, hopefully you’ll be able to access our private page, where you’ll get every update throughout the day. You’ll get all of our tasks that we brainstorm, you’ll get all of our docs that we literally are starting with scratch here, and you will see us go from idea to execution in one day. You’ll be able to access it anytime in the future. Beyond that. You’ll get your own Notion template for whatever we end up with. You’ll be able to do the same. And our hope is that it really encourages you to get motivated to tackle a project that you’ve maybe had on the back burner and get the best, fastest, quality version out that you possibly can.

Jason: But before we get into the episode, wanderingaimfully.com/behind. It’s a funny URL.

Caroline: Great job. Welcome to what Is It All For? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We are your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, what is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here too.

Caroline: Bom dia.

Jason: Oh, that’s so nice of you. It’s actually a “boa tarde” right now.

Caroline: Right now, it’s technically a “boa tarde”.

Jason: Earlier, we met somebody and I said, “Bom dia” and you said, “Boa tarde”. And I looked at my watch and said, Ooh, it’s a “boa tarde” kind of day.

Caroline: I thought it was 2:30, which would have been squarely a “boa tarde”.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: But I was wrong. It was 1:30, which I feel like is in fuzzy territory.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: We’ve heard that maybe if you haven’t had lunch yet.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: That’s still like the lunch hour.

Jason: For those of you who are like, maybe us a year ago and you wouldn’t… well, two years ago.

Caroline: You’re like, What is this bom dia? Boa tarde?

Jason: Bom dia is good day, good morning. Kind of goes both ways. Boa tarde is good afternoon. Typically, you do it after lunch.

Caroline: And so there’s this fuzzy little switch time. There’s a switch time. If you are a Portuguese and you have a hard and fast rule of when you throw out.

Jason: I just think this is like we have these colloquialisms in the US as well.

Caroline: That we would never be like it’s just like a vibe.

Jason: Yeah, you would just like, I mean, it could be like 03:00 p.m. And be like, oh, good morning. You’d be like, oh, crap. Where have I been all day? You don’t even think about it.

Caroline: I’ve been trying to ride that and just be like, listen, whatever. It’s not not about doing the right or wrong thing. It’s about, like, what’s the vibe? Is it an afternoon kind of vibe?

Jason: I told someone today that I would see them next Tuesday, and I just meant next Tuesday.

Caroline: That was actually very cute. And she got it.

Jason: Yeah, it was great.

Caroline: And also, by the way, I want to commend you. I’m really proud of you for trying to even if that was not the correct thing to say. We both, I think, made a commitment to trying to practice our Portuguese. And I commend you for just throwing that phrase out there, because that’s a phrase we learned last week. And so you were trying to throw it out there, and I think that’s great, which actually gets us into the pramble.

Jason: Let’s do it.

Caroline: Let’s get into Portuguese pramble. So what have we been up to?

Jason: We’ve been living in Portugal, for those of you who don’t know. Maybe you’re listening to the first thing. I just want to acknowledge this real quick, by the way. For those of you this is maybe your first episode you listen to, in maybe a long time or a while or ever. We do like a little pramble at the beginning to preamble. It’s just a little chat about things. We live in Portugal now. We traveled all of 2022. We chose to live in Portugal. This is our home now. We’re going to live here for…?

Caroline: At least two years, if not longer.

Jason: At least two years, if not longer. Every time I kind of bring this question up to Caroline, it changes. Sometimes it’s like forever.

Caroline: It’s because I could easily see us being here at least the five years until we do the citizenship test. But that feels really scary to say in a public venue. Although I just did that.

Jason: But sometimes it’s like one year.

Caroline: I haven’t said one year since we moved.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: After about two weeks of living here, and when I gave myself a back door to be, like, just a year. But then we got here, and I really loved it, and I was just having a fully I’m in love with Portugal Day today, let me just tell you that. I was just like I don’t know, there’s something magical about being here, kind of. How long have we been here now? Two and a half, three months, if you count since November. And we’ve just hit that past the honeymoon phase. But we’re still in the really good honeymoon phase, I guess, where we’re familiar enough, where I feel kind of comfortable. But I also feel so in love with everything. The language is so beautiful, and I love learning it, and the sunshine and the weather, and we took a long drive today. We drove down to Lisbon and back, which we’ll probably talk about, but the rolling hills and the valleys that you go through, and the homes. I sound so silly, I know, but I just am very much having a romantic love affair with Portugal right now.

Jason: Yeah, it’s great. And I think this is the content that I would want to hear from someone else who moved from a place where I currently live for all of our people who live in the US and listen to this podcast to be like, what’s it like over there?

Caroline: I was scared. I was really scared. I was bracing myself for this time period for me to just feel so isolated and so alone. And I think that’s normal if you are someone who moves to a new place and you don’t know anyone. I definitely think that is normal. But I just have been so surprised that I haven’t really felt that. And I think it’s because I have you, and it’s like, we live in a neighborhood, so we have help, and I’ve met friends.

Jason: Truthfully, I think the life hack to moving to a different country is traveling for an extended period of time to multiple different countries to get acclimated to change, constant change and constant change, because that’s what life is in a different country. Everything is different. Going to the gas station is different. Going to the pharmacy is different. Going to the grocery store is different.

Caroline: Things are different. Rules are different.

Jason: Yeah. And it’s just it’s all a bunch of different things. I will also say it is a huge acknowledgment to the people of Portugal that they speak English.

Caroline: And they’re so I know we say everyone is kind, and they are. People all over the world are kind.

Jason: And you can find not kind people.

Caroline: But I’m just telling you, like, I just feel such a warmth from the and I think it’s embedded in the culture here, a warmth from the people, and they’re just so meaning Portuguese people are just so lovely and have made our lives easier. So.

Jason: Anyway, so getting into some of the things that we kind of tackled last week, for those of you who have been paying attention for a couple of episodes, we’ve been talking about this kind of car saga, if you will. So when we got here, we didn’t want to immediately buy a car because we just didn’t know, what do we want to do? We looked into some long term rental things. Caroline’s yawning, she really gets tired of me talking about this car stuff.

Caroline: I would like it to be known that this is why I specifically request recording episodes at 10:00 a.m. because it’s when I’m a fresh what do you call it?

Jason: Daisy?

Caroline: Daisy. I’m springing out of it.

Jason: Fresh dollop of daisy?

Caroline: It is butt tard? It’s 3:30. That’s not the correct usage of that. Just FYI.

Jason: Anyway, so we’ve been renting from different rental companies and doing all these different things, and now we’re at the place where like, okay, we’re ready to buy. But the problem is that we don’t have any Portuguese credit established, so we can’t get approved for an auto loan easily like we could in the US. Like, tomorrow we could walk into a bank in the US. Bank, we have an auto loan and be like, yeah, here’s an auto loan. Like, have one, it’s fine. Here it’s very different. They’re like, oh, like, you don’t exist in our system, so we can’t give you any money.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: You might just leave.

Caroline: You might just leave. You might just take it.

Jason: So we’re just trying to navigate that because we don’t want to just pull from our savings money to buy a car.

Caroline: But then on top of that, so then we had kind of resigned ourselves to trying to pay in cash. But then there’s this other element of, well, if we do eventually want to buy a house, which if you listen to our 2023 episode, it is a goal of ours to, in the next few years, buy a house. And now we’re like, do we need credit in order to buy a house? We can’t get a straight answer on if their credit system is like the American credit system, where you need proof that you have.

Jason: Like, if we had an auto loan here and we were paying it monthly, that would help build credit. I mean, logically that makes sense, but I literally can’t even find an article that confirms that.

Caroline: Do you know what’s so silly that I just realized as you were talking?

Jason: Go ahead.

Caroline: If it’s hard to get us an auto loan because we don’t have credit.

Jason: How are we going to get a home loan?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Because I think it’s different just in the amount of money, because we have to save 30% to 40% for a down payment.

Caroline: Regardless.

Jason: It just shows that you do have the financing to back up.

Caroline: I see, because an auto loan is like just all of it basically.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Interesting. We don’t know. Does it sound like we know what we’re talking about? We don’t.

Jason: And these are the things that I think that they can really derail someone from moving to a country. But I will just tell you, like, it’s not a big deal.

Caroline: Oh my gosh. It’s not like.

Jason: The hardest part is that we have to drive to Lisbon every three weeks to swap a rental car and now we don’t even have to do that because we found a rental car company locally that they even dropped the car off at our place. So we had no idea they were doing that.

Caroline: Which is very nice. Yeah. I think it’s also a realization. If I was talking to myself on the past side of this decision, the person who is considering moving here and who was thinking of all the reasons why it would be too hard, too scary, all those things, my current self would now talk to myself, and I would be like, yeah, if you move back to the US where you’re more comfortable, you’re still going to encounter these types of life challenges all the time. Right. You still have to figure out insurance and call people about X, Y and Z and blah, blah, blah and you got this thing in the mail and what’s that and all the admin parts of life. You still have to do that in your home country. And yes, is it a little bit easier when you know the systems? Maybe. But any of us who have called an insurance hotline know that that’s not a guarantee.

Jason: Totally. So anyway, that’s the update on the car stuff. So we’ve rented now another car. We’ll have it for a couple of weeks and we’re just kind of keeping our good deal on the car that we are looking for and then maybe we’ll do some type of auto loan, maybe we won’t and we’ll just end up buying them. We’ll keep you posted.

Caroline: We would like to poupar. I don’t know the correct usage of it, but I know that the word poupar is save.

Jason: Poupar Mais is the program at our grocery store. We save more, which is Poupar Mais.

Caroline: Our grocery store is called Poupar Mais and it’s so great.

Jason: So we’re trying to poupar.

Caroline: Poupar.

Jason: Our first Portuguese language lesson was last week. We met with Anna.

Caroline: I just.

Jason: Absolutely lovely.

Caroline: And if it sounds like we didn’t learn anything, it’s because it wasn’t a lesson. It was just a meet and greet to make sure that we got along. And she did still teach us some things, which I’m not going to just dazzle you right now with all the new things you learned, but I wanted to say that it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. The person that we found, she is so wonderful and I have learning the language and learning Portuguese, I can’t even tell you how much value and happiness I get out of that process. And I’m still at the very beginning of it, but I think when I was like, a kid, I always had this romantic notion of wanting to be a person who knew more than one language. Plus there are some people, I think that just like languages, like I just love languages. And so now that I get to be this person I’ve tried before, like I took Italian in college, I’ve tried different apps and things and nothing has really ever stuck. And I think it’s because I didn’t have.

Jason: A need.

Caroline: A need or a motivation great enough. And when you move to a place that motivation is so tangible. So it’s like in my free time, I want desperately to learn. I practice so much more because it’s going to literally help me when I go talk to the person next door. I was thinking that today on our drive, I was like, man, it’s just this element of my life that I didn’t know brought me so much happiness.

Jason: Yeah, so that’ll happen. Actually, today is our first lesson after recording this. So you got a muster up, you got a dollop of daisy, more energy.

Caroline: I know, but I think something about maybe being like a little bit like fuzzy is good for language learning because you don’t try… you don’t overthink it, you just sort of let it flow, fly.

Jason: So yeah, we did that. And then also my college roommate was in town because they come to visit Portugal every once in a while. They live in Germany and so we met them at a little beach restaurant and that was very fun because.

Caroline: It was so fun. We haven’t seen them in nine years and it was just so cool to have this experience of being like the last time we all hung out was in Jacksonville, Florida, nine years ago. And we were just geographically in different places, in different places in our lives. I mean, they made a whole human that amount of time. Not even a tiny human, like a full person. He’s nine.

Jason: He’s a person.

Caroline: He’s a person. Eight.

Jason: What year do you become a person? After five?

Caroline: Eight feels like a person.

Jason: Okay, got it.

Caroline: Five is a person.

Jason: Between three and twelve, I don’t know the difference. Like I… you just line them up and I’d be like they all look the same to me.

Caroline: I know.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: I don’t really know what that was.

Jason: Especially if you get like a tall one, you know, I’d be like.

Caroline: Yeah. True.

Jason: I have no idea.

Caroline: You’re an adult.

Jason: Yeah. Yeah. It was also nice. It was like the first time that we kind of like, quote unquote hosted people from out of town. It just feels good to be able to go, oh, let’s go over to this little beach bar, bring it back to our place, like show you our place. It was just fun to do that.

Caroline: Very fun.

Jason: And then also we met the 80 plus year old neighbors who through multiple generations they have owned a piece of land right on their little walking route since the mid 18 hundreds, and he built the house that they live in now in the 70s and they have a cute little dog whose name is Nikki that we have seen.

Caroline: A cão. That’s the word for dog.

Jason: Yeah. Not cow.

Caroline: No, it’s cão. Cão.

Jason: We’ve seen her sun bathing in a chair and just looks very adorable. And so we finally got to say hello. Got some scratches. We’re able to talk to he and his wife. They speak English. I think it’s also because their grandson lives in the northeast of the US.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Works for IBM, we heard. We got, like, the full thing.

Caroline: We got the full thing.

Jason: But it was just very cute.

Caroline: They’re delightful.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: They… we just had a great time chatting with them. And if you’re curious about how married couples in their 80s interact across cultures, it is the same.

Jason: It’s the same.

Caroline: Elena will tell us a story. Fernandez will repeat the story, and Elena will go, I just told them that.

Jason: And hit him on the arm. It’s like the exact same thing.

Caroline: Best thing ever. And so, yeah, it just feels so good to have local neighbors and kind of the more we get acclimated to the community here and just waving to people and saying hey to people, and it’s the best feeling.

Jason: Yeah. Pretty soon we’ll be showing up at the town hall meetings with no clue what anybody is saying unless they speak very slowly.

Caroline: You know it’s only a matter of time before I’m organizing some type of Halloween door to door. And people are like, what? No, we don’t do that here.

Jason: In knotted Halloween. I’m picturing this at just a very wrong time of year.

Caroline: I just can picture myself getting on some sort of kick of, like, organizing, like, a book club or something, and people being like, no, I don’t want to do that.

Jason: Like a neighborhood egg hunt. And people are like, what are we doing?

Caroline: What are we doing?

Jason: Why did you put these eggs everywhere? Did you buy this from the grocery store? What are you doing, ma’am? All right, so that’s our Portugal update. If you ever have any questions or things you want us to talk about as it relates to moving to Portugal, living in Portugal, feel free to send those over, [email protected] is our email address.

Caroline: Or just moving away from your home country in general.

Jason: [email protected] All right, let’s talk about good enough.

Caroline: So we could have sworn we did an episode about this in the past.

Jason: I think everyone who has a podcast that’s more than 100 episodes thinks that at some point.

Caroline: We’re like, certainly, and it’s because we talk about this all the time, but we looked back, and we can’t find one that seems to be exactly this.

Jason: If we did, just pretend that this is the first one you’ve heard.

Caroline: But the reason I wanted to talk about this is because, again, this year, the podcast were kind of taking you behind the scenes on our business. And I thought, what is the main challenge that we were encountering this past week as we worked on things? And right now we’re in a place of business where, first of all, we’re very just like, motivated and feeling all the creative ideas, as evidenced by Behind the Build, which you heard about the top of the episode. But something that I am struggling with right now.

Jason: Is this is different than what’s shifting in you? Interesting.

Caroline: It’s different than shifting in me.

Jason: Okay, I got to keep up.

Caroline: What’s struggling, what I’m struggling with, what’s struggling in me is I am trying to work on all these projects. Namely, the one that took up a lot of my time last week was the WAIM dashboard. And so this is a custom dashboard that we created for our Wandering Aimfully Unlimited members when we launched it in 2018. Because we have so many courses, workshops, resources, I mean, endless amounts of things, all for different aspects of your business, coaching sessions. We wanted a place to house all of that. And so we created this custom dashboard. You can search it, all these things. We created the best version of that that we knew how to in 2018, but now that we have more things and also we’ve just.

Jason: Yeah, it’s five years time. I think even just like your website, like anybody who’s had a website for five years, you look back and you’re like, it needs an upgrade.

Caroline: Right. So we’re ready to update it. And so I’ve been working on the designs of refreshing that, but I’m having this internal struggle because it’s not that I would even consider myself a perfectionist anymore. I think we’ve been in business long enough that we have I don’t expect anything to be perfect. Like, it’s not that I’m trying to make it perfect, but it’s hard because I feel like I have such a high standard for myself, and I go two ways with it. The one way is like, well, if I’m going to spend time on this, why not do it well? Do you know what I mean? But then the other push and pull to that is also, yeah, but I don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish this thing. And we’re just two people, and we’re trying to accomplish so much this year. So there has to be some give and take of when you decide, this meets my standard. Like, this thing is complete enough, it’s good enough that I can go ahead and get it out into the world.

Jason: Yeah. And I think it really helps. This is one of those things where we have each other to bounce back and forth on when it comes to different design iterations and things like where things are and ideas. And I think if you listen to this, maybe don’t work with a partner and maybe you don’t have anybody, it’d be great to try and find a business buddy somewhere. So that could be in other groups that you’re in or Slack channels or whatever. You see someone who might be posting similar things that you’re working on. I would reach out to them and try and build a relationship because I think that’s what really helps us get to a good enough standard is you’ll be working on something and you’ll be in the trenches of it. And you’ll be like, I could work on this for, like, 20 more hours, but then you show it to me and like, oh, yeah, let’s just do these three things. And I think the rest of it, like, you nailed.

Caroline: Right? There’s something about someone coming in from the outside. If you’re in a place to receive that, there’s something about it gives you a permission slip.

Jason: Yeah. Because otherwise you could work on it forever.

Caroline: Right. That is the thing. You could work anything you could work on forever. And so that’s kind of what I wanted to explore in this episode, though, is like, how do you find that line for yourself? So I think, like you said, I think having someone to bounce ideas off of is a great kind of thing to, like a tool to use. I think also time constraints, we use those a lot, is I don’t trust myself sometimes to know where that line is. So I need almost, like the arbitrary time container to determine that line for me. You know what I mean?

Jason: Well, I was thinking back to kind of even my own history with the idea of good enough and working almost to perfectionism, you could say. And I think I didn’t even write this down. Where this first got challenged me was I Wear Your Shirt because every day I had a new company that I was making a YouTube video for, and, like, I had to hit publish. So it was like my own, like, good enough. It was just like, I just had to get it done. And so that really showed me, like, over and over every single day, like, you’re going to have to do another one of these. You have to do another one of these. And I know that for a project, like, you might be redesigning your website or whatever, you’re not going to, like, redesign your website site again next month.

Caroline: No, but I do think, like, you said, something that helps me focus on good enough is, like you said, the quantity of like, I have so many things I want to get onto the next thing.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: The sooner I can arrive at a place that feels good enough, the sooner I can move on to the next project and try to tackle that and try to get good enough. That actually reminded me the episode that we did that was a little similar to this was on perfectionism specifically. That was, I believe, episode 80 and one of the things we talked about in that episode was this idea of quantity and how quantity is often what helps you because of what you just described, which is like the more kind of iterations that you go through, you realize no one thing defines the quality of your work.

Jason: It’s like if you’re going to make 50 Instagram reels versus you’re just going to make one and you don’t have any plans to make any more, of course you’re going to take you forever to make the one, because I’m only going to make one. It’s like, no, but you commit to make 50, then the first one doesn’t matter. It’s like, Well, I got to make the second one. I got to make the third one. So that was one part of what I just thought about. The other part that I wanted to bring up was and I know this isn’t really relatable for a ton of people, but I just think it’s interesting to share. In building a software product which is Teachery, which is our second business, that really changed things in me from a different perspective, which is, oh, there’s a limitation because I can’t build this, so I have to rely on somebody else. And then they also have the limitations of like, they can only do something to a certain degree. So, like, a perfect example is like, you or I could design a feature in Teachery. Like, let’s just say it is a payment page. And it’s like how a payment page is laid out and like, how it functions. We give that to a developer and we go, okay, implement this. And like, okay, that’s great, but after checkout, you want to do this, we can’t actually do that because the way that Stripe works, webhooks work or whatever, and you’re like, I don’t even know… what are you even talking about? But it can’t really be done unless you want to invest like a month of effort into it. You’re like, Well, I have to move on. And so I think in working in Teachery and I actually believe you saw this in 2020 when you redesigned the entire application, is that you start to realize like, oh, well, you know what? I want this, like, perfect version that I’ve dreamed about. It doesn’t really matter because the good enough version accomplishes the thing, and then someone’s just going to move on. It’s got to just be good enough to be good enough and move on.

Caroline: I think part of embracing good enough is about letting go of the better version. Like surrendering to the fact that if you’re choosing between good enough and much better, if much better in your head is not plausible, you have to actively try to let go of that. And it’s so hard because you’re absolutely right. When I was working on Teachery, that is something I was not used to at all. And I remember looking at you and I was like, I know that our drag and drop thing can be better and blah, blah. And I remember even working on those screens, and you at one point were like, babe, I love you so much. We actually can’t make this right now because of this reason and this reason and words like webhooks and things like that. And I was like, what do you mean we can’t do this? And I had to let go of the much better version because it just wasn’t feasible. And that helped me embrace good enough. And I think also reframing it in your mind, is like, it’s not about settling. Where was I just listening to this? I can’t remember, but I was just listening to something where they were talking about the difference between settling on and settling for and how that’s such a subtle difference, but settling for, it gives this denotation of like, oh, well, I’m sort of succumbing to this, and it’s something that was forced upon me. But settling on something, it puts the power back in your hands, and it’s like you’re choosing it.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: So if you know where I heard that, please, I would give full credit to the person, but I literally can’t remember where I heard that. But I thought that’s a distinction I’ve never heard of before and I’ve never made of before. And it’s something that it reminded me of something we talk about with our WAIMers often, which is choose boldly. And to me, and what we mean by that is when you’re stuck in indecisiveness, to choose boldly means to just make a decision and don’t look back and recognize that it doesn’t matter if it’s the right or wrong decision, that you’re taking a step forward and you’re taking action. And so it’s kind of this permission slip to just move forward. Right. But in that sense, you’re settling on. You’re settling on a decision. You’re choosing something. You’re not settling for something.

Jason: So, yeah, I just thought it was interesting to kind of look back and see those opportunities to kind of battle some of the perfectionism thoughts that we go through in creating things. And again, for me, even now, as you’re working on the dashboard and the narticles designs and these things, I can tell that you’re in the details of it, which I love because it’s creating such an amazing experience. But I’m also just like, yeah, that’s great. Let’s just move forward. Because I know that we still have a developer who has to build it, and I don’t even know if it can look exactly like that. But I also know that if you compare the version that you have right now, that you could still spend 20 more hours on to what we already have in existence, it’s 100 times better. So I don’t need it to be 105 times better. I’ll take the 100. I’ll even take the 75. I’ll take the 50 because it is better than what we have now. So I think that’s also, like a very interesting way to just look at something and perceive it if you’re working on something that’s already in existence and you’re trying to improve it.

Caroline: Yeah, and I definitely fall into this trap of thinking that when you do a big project like this, like, for example, a redesign, thinking that it’s so permanent and it’s really not. It’s permanent in, like Jason’s saying, if you can get it 80% of the way to where you want it, the other 20% can be tiny iterations that you can add to over time. And I think focusing on that and not trying to get too far into the weeds on that extra 20% is really helpful to remember. It’s just kind of like, in broad strokes, is this much better than what we have? But it’s funny, as I was just thinking about that, because I’m always trying to break things down into ways that I can explain them or trying to take very intangible things, like, how do you define good enough? And breaking it down into something that feels much more concrete. And so this is something that we don’t actively do, but I kind of asked myself, how do you actually break down good enough?

Jason: Right. Because for everybody… it’s different for everybody.

Caroline: Because it’s different for everyone. And so I thought, like, how do you and the phrase I thought of was, I know we’ve talked about Fair Play on this before, but there’s a concept, and I’m sure it exists somewhere else besides this, but Eve Rodsky wrote the book Fair Play. It’s about sort of like balancing the domestic work in your household. And there’s this idea in her framework that is called minimum standard. And it’s kind of like you agree on what the minimum standard is that you’re both willing to aim for, for that task. And I think of good enough as your minimum standard, right? And I think a good exercise for each person is kind of breaking that idea down into parts and saying, okay, thinking about my values as a business, what actually would be my minimum standard for, like, a project that I want to get out the door? And so just as a fun exercise, I did this for myself. And I don’t know if you can agree, but these are the things that I came up with. First and foremost, if I was to decide, okay, this version of this project is good enough, what would it have to be? And so the first thing would be like, does it work? Meaning, does it fulfill the promise that we made with the offer?

Jason: So, like, for our dashboard?

Caroline: For our dashboard, can you search for products and find them?

Jason: Yeah. And especially because it’s a redesign, it’s like, can you search for them easier?

Caroline: Easier.

Jason: Can you find things easier?

Caroline: Is it easier to find?

Jason: More intuitive to find?

Caroline: And so to me, that’s like a value of integrity. It’s like, okay, if I promise that this thing does this, I have to make sure that the version that I get out the door does that thing.

Jason: So does the version you have right now check that box?

Caroline: No.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: No.

Jason: There you go.

Caroline: It doesn’t.

Jason: So it still needs more time.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: There you go.

Caroline: So my second one was and this is again, these are going to be your own values, so yours could be three totally different things. But number two for us, I think, would be does it feel as error free as possible? And I know that’s a toughie because as possible is a little nebulous, but what I mean by that is we’re conscientious people, and so we’re just not people who yeah, you might find the occasional typo and something like that, that’s okay. We’re not aiming for perfection, but as much as we can allow it, can we remove the errors from this thing?

Jason: Yeah. And I think even.

Caroline: Can we make sure there’s not Lorem Ipsum hanging out?

Jason: Totally. Yeah. And I think error free, I would also do is like, have I looked at all of the important details?

Caroline: Right.

Jason: Which is like, let’s say you have an online course. It’s like, okay, I’m just thinking through the important details. How does someone log in? How do they log out? How do they update their email address? How do they move forward, how do they move back? How do they get to the home? What are all just, like, the important things? And have I made all of those accessible to somebody? And so you can look at your project and go like, okay, cool, I did all those. And so for us, I think it’s really helpful because we’re building a dashboard, like, can I click this thing and then can I go back? Can I click this thing and then can I go…? It’s like we need to make sure that just the navigation in itself works, because everything else is already functioning right now.

Caroline: Yeah. And for us, that’s, like, about being conscientious, being thoughtful, and making things that don’t feel like they are put together with tape and glue, but acknowledging that that’s okay. Somebody else might have tremendous success in their business for the very reason that they don’t overdo it on the conscientiousness and they just try to get something out the door. And that’s 100% okay. Totally run these through your own value system of how you best work. But for us, to me, it doesn’t feel like a Wandering Aimfully thing if it doesn’t feel conscientious. And then the third one was, does it have a tiny dose of personality? And that’s because one of our values is originality. And so even if it’s kind of the bare bones thing that we’re trying to get out the door, what’s the last little sprinkle of personality we can put on there? Like, throw some emojis in there, throw some cool copy in there? Like, do an image that maybe brings a little bit of personality to it.

Jason: Also, when you just said cool copy, did you mean a cool copy?

Caroline: That’s my new copyright studio. It’s called the Cozy Corner Cool Copy.

Jason: Dot net.

Caroline: Dot net.

Jason: Yeah. I think this is something that for anybody listening to this who is a Wandering Aimfully member, I hope you would see that in spades in everything that we do is that it’s like, oh, you’re doing this thing, but there’s one more layer of fun or interest to it that I haven’t seen before.

Caroline: Yeah. And I think even if you’re doing the smallest, best version of something, that just takes a little bit of thought, it doesn’t necessarily take a little bit of time.

Jason: It’s like punching up the script.

Caroline: That’s right.

Jason: You write the script, but you just come back and just like, punch it up. Like throw a couple of jokes in there.

Caroline: Yeah. This episode is what made me think of that. But we can probably use that as a filter going forward.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Maybe as you are listening to this right now, we’re having a heck of a time on Behind the Build.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: But I’m going to save that for Behind the Build.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: The last thing I wanted to talk about is just this idea that and really an acknowledgement that you’re going to have different standards for different projects.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: It’s very different. You’re good enough for your first published book is going to be very different than you’re good enough for a PDF that you’re trying to add to an email capture.

Jason: Exactly. Yeah. And I think one of the things especially for us as an example for this is right now we’re working on the Wandering Aimfully dashboard for our members. There is an element of not permanence, but once we hand the designs off to our developer, we can’t go in and easily make changes. It’s not an easy thing to do. However, the next time we make a course, it is so unbelievably easy to make changes. Every single part of an online course, we can change it our own with ease. So it’s like our version of good enough for both of those is a sliding scale because the one for the dashboard is like, well, it’s got to be kind of in the upper echelon of the good enough because we’re not going to be able to redo it again.

Caroline: And that’s why I said the 80%. Right. That felt right to me is like, if I can hit that 80 mark, anything that feels like it falls in the 20% that is less vital, those are little things that we could maybe have our developer do down the road, but exactly. You have to negotiate the fact of how easy is it going to be to update in the future. So that’s something you have to think about, I think thinking same with like, a book, right? Thinking about how much time in general do I have to work on this? Because I think if you don’t have a lot of time and you know, you don’t, then, yeah, you’re good enough standard is not going to… you’re going to lower it a little bit.

Jason: And it’s also, is this my first time creating this thing? Is this a new thing or has this existed and I’m updating it?

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: It’s like your standard for something in existence, again our dashboard, is like, is this better than what already exists? Because if it’s not, like, why are we doing it? It needs to be better than it already is.

Caroline: Yeah. And I think with a lot of things that you’re new at, there’s an acceptance of the fact that you don’t totally know what you’re doing, you don’t totally know what’s going to work. So actually, the lower that standard, the more that you can be okay with something being good enough and it being a little bit lower than you’re used to, the quicker you get something out the door and you can get real time feedback so you can make it better.

Jason: Yeah. And this is like I always give the advice to people who are maybe stuck in a perfectionism mindset or procrastination because they’re working on their first thing, but they’re comparing it to maybe someone else’s or even our stuff, because we’re like, hey, stop comparing where we are or where this person is to your first thing. Go back and look at our first things. So even some of our WAIMers, I’m like, scroll all the way down on our resources and go watch one of the first recorded workshops that we did.

Caroline: Go all the way to our Wayback Machine and look at our first website. Great.

Jason: As long as you’re doing better than that, then I think you should feel really good about the thing that you’re creating. If you’re not able to kind of keep up with where people are in their ten years into their business journey, of course you’re not. Like you don’t have that same experience and that same ability. I think that’s a big difference in how you think about something is the perspective of where you are versus the people you’re comparing yourself to.

Caroline: Definitely. For me, I don’t know if there’s one thing that you feel like got you over the hump of good enough, and maybe it was just Teachery like, just being in the trenches. But for me, someone who did come from this background that I could definitely get in these traps of overthinking and trying to make the right decision, the most optimal decision that everyone would like, or that the most people would buy, or that you know what I mean, like, oh, what should I name this? Or how should I do my sales page? There’s a million different decisions when it comes to online business, right? And I think where I really had a turning point was when I realized that the best antidote to that type of paralysis and that overthinking is real experimentation, even though it’s hard because you’re like, oh, the second I put it out there, it’s real and someone can judge me for it or someone can think it’s bad. But I started to do that enough that I found that the data I got from something being real was such a relief compared to the hemming and hawing in my head because it just made me feel like, well, this is so much easier because now I can just actually see, oh, I did that with my course last time. I saw that worked, I saw that didn’t work. I’ve seen good results with this. I’ve seen good results with this type of email newsletter, not this one, you know what I mean? Like the more real data you can accumulate, the more you can alleviate yourself from some of that overthinking and anxiety and fear. And once I got a taste of that, man, I was just like, this is so much better. And so that is what has helped me get over that hump. Because now every time I work on something, I’m like, if I can just be okay with good enough, I can get it out into the world and it can get real feedback and it can be a real thing. Instead of me sitting here debating every decision, every design decision in my head.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: I don’t know if that helps.

Jason: Yeah, I think Teachery was really the big turning point for me. Just an understanding, like, I can’t make this any better than it is. I did what I could and now this is where it lives. But I also think in running Wandering Aimfully as the person who has managed the member side of things for a long time, it’s like my goal, truthfully, is just to do as good of a job as I can do and let the chips fall where they may. So I’m going to be as friendly as I can in emails, I’m going to be as helpful as I can in Slack support messages. I’m going to be as silly and unboring in our coaching sessions as possible and I can do no more than that. I could do a little bit more, but it would push me beyond my ability and time that I have and I’m just okay with that. If that makes the majority of people happy, which I think it does, and we’ve seen that over the years, then I know that I’m doing a good enough job and yes, I could be doing more, but I don’t need to because I am doing a good enough job. And I think it’s also something we’ve come back to in like world life conversations as well, where you could always be doing more as a person.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Jason: But that’ll drive you insane.

Caroline: Exactly. You could always be trying harder, you could always be doing more. And there’s opportunity in that. And if you can find a healthy balance of finding that pursuit of excellence, if you’re that type of person and you can do that in a healthy way, like, more power to you. But I think if you’re someone that already has a gear towards pursuit of excellence, if you’re someone who already has a gear towards conscientiousness, already has a gear towards attention to detail, it’s having the self awareness to go, oh, then maybe I’m someone who needs to focus on enough.

Jason: True.

Caroline: So it’s just you have to run it through that filter.

Jason: And that’s us. Like, we’re speaking for ourselves.

Caroline: That’s what I’m saying.

Jason: Yeah. Exactly.

Caroline: That’s what I’m saying, and probably a lot of people who listen to this.

Jason: Do you want to give one more shout out to Behind the Build before we wrap this sucker up? Because as of today, this episode going up.

Caroline: Yeah, one more shout out. Again, if you are listening to this episode on February 16, this is the last day to purchase Behind the Build Live for pay what you want, but $25 minimum. This is our live, behind the scenes experiment, where you get to watch us redesign our homepage and build a new strategic lead magnet and try to do that all in one day.

Jason: And by live, we mean you will get access to a private page where we’re basically cataloging every single thing that we’re doing. We’re recording four videos throughout the day. It’s not Zoom or anything like that. It’s just literal videos that will be recorded and uploaded.

Caroline: Because honestly, I would get nothing done if I was, like, streaming live all day.

Jason: Exactly. But we’ll be adding those four videos in. We’ll be creating a checklist. We’re literally going to start the day. I mean, we’ve already done it because at the time this episode going up it is February 16, but we’re going to start the day essentially with no plan. So we’re just going to show up and go, okay, what do you do when you have a project you want to get done in a day? How do you make it happen?

Caroline: You’re going to see the blank page go from blank to bullet points to tasks to, oh, we thought we could get this done, but we can’t get this done. You’re going to see us decide what good enough looks like in real time.

Jason: Yeah. So if you want to check that out, if it is still February 16, go to wanderingaimfully.com/behind. That’s the fun URL we made for you. And you can pay what you want, like Caroline said, at a $25 minimum. And if you hear this at the end of the 16th, as long as you still see that buy page is still up, you can buy, you’ll get access, but once that buy page is down, then you know you have missed it. And you can look out for our next one of these. If we experimented and thought it went well and want to do it again. So you keep an eye out for that.

Caroline: Either way, thanks for listening and for being here. We enjoy this so much. We hope you enjoy listening. And if you have any questions about life in Portugal, send them our way, [email protected]

Jason: I think we’ll probably see them next week.

Caroline: We’ll see you next week.

Jason: And by see you, we mean hear you.

Caroline: Do you know how to say, “Until next week”?

Jason: Até logo?

Caroline: I think it’s “até semana”?

Jason: What’s até logo? What did I just…?

Caroline: Até logo is see you later.

Jason: Oh, great. Then I win.

Caroline: But I think it’s like later this day.

Jason: Até Terça.

Caroline: That’s see you next Tuesday.

Jason: Até Quinta.

Caroline: That’s see you next Fri– Thursday.

Jason: Thursday. Eh. That works.

Caroline: Até Quinta.

Jason: All right, everybody, that’s it for your Portuguese lesson.

Caroline: God. We’re going to go learn some stuff.

Jason: Okay, bye.

Caroline: Okay, bye.

Setting Your “Good Enough” Standard

(Big Fat Takeaway)

The sooner you can arrive at a place that feels good enough, the sooner you can move on to the next project.

IT IT

This article written by

Jason Zook

(he/him) Co-head-hancho of this WAIM thing. I used to wear t-shirts for a living, now I just wear them because I'm not a nudist. You can usually find me baking things, watching JCVD movies, and dreaming of living on an island.

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