I work with a lot of clients who strive to be the very best they can be. Often they are burnt out, spinning their wheels, and exhausted.
I encourage these stressed souls to embrace Half Assery as much as Bad Assery. Not everything in our lives can be an A+. We should intentionally settle for pass/fail when we can. Know where life must be an A+; where your passions lie and you want the A+. But also give yourself permission to just skate by on the parts of life that do not bring you joy and do not require your best effort.
Especially during the holiday season, where doing it all perfectly can seem to be the unspoken expectation in the head of so many. By resting during the “need to” parts, we can save our energy and bandwith for the “love to” parts.
Today, I took my sixteen-year-old daughter with me to Baptiste Yoga—a form of yoga that is very intense, with high expectations of pushing yourself as far as you can. But we are running a half marathon tomorrow.
So, I told her we were going to stay for the whole class but work on being mediocre. Her eyes grew big, her body tensed. “Nope,” I said. ”We have permission to fail gloriously today.”
I’ve never felt so light and free in a yoga class When the rest of the class sank deeper into chair pose, I rose up higher. When others took a downward dog, I snuggled into child’s pose. It felt joyful. My daughter laughed throughout the class. Why on earth have I taken yoga so seriously all the time? And the kicker was, by being totally playful and relaxed, we still did about 90% of the poses, but had way more fun doing so.
Pass/fail instead of A+ can feel delicious. Let it be a gift to yourself. Be intentional about it. The space and rest you create with your Half Assery will allow you to then joyfully choose when you are ready to shine your light to the absolute fullest. And that is the greatest gift of all.

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Written by Dr. Dana Mitra

I am a life coach at Coaching By Dana and tenured academic professor at Penn State.

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