As a child, I loved going to school. I loved learning and writing and planning out my schedule. I also loved getting perfect attendance. I’m almost always up for a challenge and this was one that I loved pursuing each year. Maybe I just liked the idea of getting another certificate. Or maybe it was actually FOMO (before it was referred to with an acronym).
I ended up with perfect attendance most of my grade school years. And I’m pretty sure I still have the certificates in my childhood keepsake box.
As I reflect on this now I’ve decided I no longer care about getting perfect attendance. While I believe strongly in being responsible and committed, I also believe that some times it’s necessary to take a day off. And that it’s okay when I do.
Ultimately, I’ve let go of a pretty big belief. The belief that showing up no matter what the circumstances are is better than not showing up. While some might argue this to be a good belief, I’ve found it to be a detriment at times. And here’s why…
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself (and for others) is to not show up. It’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to let your body rest when it’s telling you it needs a break. It’s okay to give your mind a day off. It’s okay to stop striving for perfection.
Think about the child who goes to school sick. Not only are they likely to not participate or perform well, they’re also likely “contaminating” those around them. As adults, the same situation occurs. Maybe instead of the flu, it’s a frazzled state of mind or a negative attitude that’s causing them to underperform and “infect” their coworkers. Both situations could negatively impact others well beyond them.
I realize now that holding onto this belief-to show up no matter what-is just one more way I was living life by default (which I talked about recently with Mike Campbell of the Live Immediately podcast). I’ve always been one to take on challenges. I love the pursuit and I love the rewards. But I’ve also learned that perfect sometimes involves a compromise that’s not always worth making.
Now, instead of focusing on achieving perfect, I give myself grace and focus on what I really need most. I listen to my mind and body and I take a break when they’re telling me (sometimes screaming at me) to. Whether it’s sleep, rest, a private retreat, some quiet time or enjoying some simple joys, I listen. It’s not always an easy decision, but it’s one that once made, I know is right.
How about you? Do you care about getting perfect attendance?
To Simplicity & Joy,