Anything Worth Doing


My mom has lots of great nuggets of guidance and wisdom, some I’ve appreciated through the years more than others. When I was in high school, I didn’t value her opinion that if I had to keep a notebook of what clothes I wore on what days was anyone else really going to notice how many days apart I wore the same outfit? I don’t remember her throwing the “if everyone else jumped off a bridge” quote my way, but like any kid, I’m sure there are lots of things she said I didn’t pay attention to in those formative years.

But some of her words have really stuck with me and apparently with other people as well. When I was visiting with my friend, Deb, last week, she reminded me that I had shared one of my mom’s quotes with her. She was thinking of it as she starting horseback riding lessons. She has ridden her whole life, but is trying to learn an entire new discipline and the learning curve is steep. I hadn’t thought of the quote for awhile, so it was time to dust it off and share it with the world (or at least those of you who read my blog whom I greatly appreciate!).

From Frances, and I quote, ”Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at the beginning.” To use a current popular phrase, let’s “drill down” on that phrase for a minute and think about how that applies to us.

“Anything worth doing.” What does that mean to you? How do you value those things you do? Are they worth doing? How does this apply to those new things you may be attempting here in the new year? Learning a new hobby? Trying exercise in a new class? Going back to school for a new career? Maybe you’re trying to climb a mountain? Whatever it may be, you must think it’s worth it or you wouldn’t be taking it on.

Next section of our nugget of wisdom “…is worth doing poorly at the beginning.” Once you’ve decided it’s worth it, then the work starts. Because as a beginner, you don’t always have that “beginner’s luck.” Sometimes it’s intense frustration when you realize that what someone else makes look easy is really quite difficult. It’s the recognition that this chunk you bit off to chew is tougher than you thought.

But if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly at the beginning. Those people you’re watching make it look effortless, did you ever see them when they were a beginner? That woman completing the lovely dressage test? Did you see her first riding lesson? That runner who just completed a marathon? Did you see her when she first set that goal and went for a short run, huffing and puffing the whole way? That blogger who has 20,000 followers? Did you see her late at night with tears in her eyes trying to figure out how to get that week’s blog to post correctly?


So take a moment and look at that mountain you’ve decided to climb. Give yourself some credit for taking it on. It’s daunting. Give yourself some grace when you stand in the mountaineering section at REI and have no idea what equipment you even need. Give yourself some kudos for that first hike. Remember that while you’re putting in the work, someone else isn’t and you’re getting closer to the top. They aren’t.

And that’s when you pat yourself on the back. Don’t wait til you reach the summit or ride the perfect dressage test or complete the marathon or make a full-time income blogging. Pat yourself on the back today when you’re struggling to figure it out, when you’re doing it poorly, but you’re doing it.

Because Frances says, (and I personally believe Frances is always right), anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at the beginning. So do it poorly if you have to, but keep doing it and eventually you’ll be doing it amazingly.

So keep climbing, even after you fall down. Keep climbing even when you don’t think you know what you’re doing and the other climbers have gone on ahead. Just keep climbing. You’ll reach that peak.

And please, when you get there, send us all pictures of that view from the top of the mountain. We’ll all pat you on the back.