GEFN: Good Enough for Now
We had a very busy week as many of you probably had. There were too many hours on Zoom, a couple of family challenges, and a lot of worry about the state of the world. In short, it was an exhausting week.
It is in stressful times that the saying “perfection can be the enemy of the good” makes sense.
That is why as Creators, in challenging times we are grateful to remember the GEFN (pronounced gef-en) practice, which stands for “Good Enough for Now.” We often live by GEFN as a guide in our creating process.
GEFN is a concept that I (David) created while facilitating a group of executives who were trying to get to a “perfect” solution that was sapping the energy of their co-creating process. I was frustrated by how much they debated minutia when suddenly the GEFN idea hit me. I offered it to the group to help them get past their perfectionism. They let go of having to know all the answers, and to my pleasant surprise, their energy and creativity expanded.
All human beings want to be creative and bring forth their best self. Our job as fellow Creators is to find ways that help reduce the stress and drama in our teams, at home, and in our communities.
The GEFN approach to creating can help you nurture your “Inner Creator.” By not having to have everything figured out, you can more easily relax, take one Baby Step, learn, adjust, and keep moving forward.
GEFN helps interrupt the dance of the internal Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). Your inner Persecutor can come alive, insisting that you must “get it right” and not let anyone see your work until it is perfect. That troublesome voice might sound something like: “I will feel small and like a Victim if others think anything bad about me. Therefore, I must be perfect in what I put forward, no matter what!”
Needing to have it all figured out before you begin to create is the “enemy” of learning, creativity, and innovation.
Learning often requires experimentation, multiple attempts, and, yes, falling short at times. As you engage in the creating process, you will learn and adjust with each Baby Step, even when the step fails to produce the particular result you hoped for.
We often title the first draft of our Friday “TED* Works!” blog as our GEFN draft. By saying it is “good enough for now,” our fear of having to have it perfect gives us room to breathe. We then hand the draft off to the other for editing and honing.
As a Creator, allow yourself to be vulnerable to imperfection, for that is how you learn, grow, and develop. The continuous learning mindset embraces the reality of not necessarily knowing how you are going to achieve your envisioned outcomes—which makes the perfectionist in you cringe.
When you find that voice emerging within you, we suggest you pause and ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I telling myself in this moment about how “perfect” this needs to be?
- Is this actually good enough for now? How might I step back and take some perspective on what I have created so far?
- How can I see what I have done so far as a Baby Step in my creating process?
By embracing GEFN, you give your inner critic a break so you can focus on the next Baby Step in service to what you want to create. You will immediately feel a shift from stress and anxiety to possibility, and maybe have some fun enjoying the creative process.