Does it always have to be a 10?

Posted: September 17, 2011 in Words

Earlier this week, I had a short Twitter conversation with Carlos Whittaker, who is ” an artist, pastor, thinker, experience architect, and Web 2.0 junkie.” (from the About page of his blog) Here’s how it went:

I get what he’s saying about great content. I know that “content is king.” But I’m self-aware enough to know that sometimes my posts are sub-par. And this extends beyond blogging.

Every Sunday morning, I stand up in front of our church and preach. Some days when I’m done, I think, “Yep- nailed it. Knocked that one out of the park.” But there are other days when it goes so poorly, I don’t even want to look people in the eye as they’re leaving the building. I’d rather just crawl under my desk and hide until they’re gone.

Whether it’s blogging or preaching or parenting or just being a good citizen, I give it my best. Some days my best is a 10. Some days my best is a 5.

And I’m ok with that.

I think we have to be, for a couple of reasons. One is that I think it’s dishonest to only let people see you at your absolute best. I want my friends to see that cold sore on my lip, or to know that the funky smell in the car was my fault. That’s part of building relationships with people, right? Letting your guard down? Being genuine with them? Letting them see you warts and all?

If I only hit “Publish” when it’s a 10, I’m lying to you. If I only show you the stuff that’s perfect and put together and flawless, you’re seeing a facade, and that’s dishonest.

I also think we have to be willing to fall short because people are counting on us. I don’t mean this arrogantly- I certainly don’t think this blog is changing the world- but the people who read it on a regular basis are counting on me to post a couple times a week. My church is counting on me to preach three times a week. My kids, my wife, my friends- they count on me to be there when I’m supposed to be. Sure, I have a responsibility to be prepared and give it my best, but again- some days, my best is a 5, but I still show up.

So I’m gonna keep blogging and preaching and telling stories and drawing pictures. Sometimes it’ll be great, sometimes it’ll be mediocre, but I’m gonna do it anyway.

Whether it’s a 10 or not.

Tell me what you think in the comments section.

  1. Edwin Christian says:

    I think the name of the game is honesty. As a friend I expect to see the real you, not just what you want me to see. As friends we read each other through our actions, words, and feelings. I know, as an example when you are not fully up to par, when I read your posts on BDB and facebook. As your friend, even with 200 miles between us, I feel for you and pray for a better day to come your way.
    I also know when I am down and respond to your blog, you feel my pain and pray for me, because I feel your prayers.
    None of us can always be at 100% all the time, friends know that and pick up the gap for us by giving support and comfort. God Bless you Jared!


  2. granna07 says:

    You are doing just fine! I may not always make a comment on your blog, but I like what you write [and draw!]. I would rather people be themselves, and quit trying to be perfect or trying to be someone or something they are not. Anyway, Jesus Christ is the only One Who is and always will be PERFECT!

  3. yeshuab says:

    Jared, I agree with your thoughts. if I didn’t post because it wasn’t a 10 I’d never write again. To be honest reading your work has inspired me to start writing again. I know….I’m cheesy but it’s true.

  4. Bryanllain says:

    I think you and Los have different definitions of what a “10” is, so it’s tough to really take sides on something like this.

    That being said, I’d take your side if I have to. Mostly for 2 reasons:

    1. Only publishing 10s is a slippery slope that will eventually lead to perfectionism and not publishing anything.

    2. A confident person can say “Your best is a 10, but if you know it sucks don’t publish it.” but i dont know that it works for everyone. Some people think their best isn’t great all the time. Does this mean they should never post?

    where’s the room for getting better and improving in all of that?

    If “your best = 10” then okay I get that. But some days my best feels like a 6. and so you can call it a 10 if you want, but I’ll call it a 6 and I’ll be okay with it.

  5. I, too, have published posts that are less than stellar, but I’m also aiming for consistency as I work to grow my blog and simply get in the habit of writing regularly. I really like how both you and Bryan said it, so I won’t try to reword it to make myself look all smart and fancy. 😉

  6. There’s always room for improvement. So in my opinion the only thing that’s a “10” is the Bible. No room for improvement there. In our writing, there’s always something that could be worded differently. Something that can be taken the wrong way because one person read it one way & another person took it totally differently. Write it, re-read it, check for spelling, grammar & punctuation & then post if you like it.

  7. Matt Richard says:

    Dr. Joel Gregory, a preaching professor I once had, often spoke of the baseball illustration you mentioned in reference to preaching. He said it is nice to hit it out of the park every once in a while, but many Sundays we will have to be happy with a base hit!

    I’ve been encouraged by that illustration in regards to my performance in many areas! Great post!

  8. I totally agree with Bryan.

  9. April says:

    What you wrote really resonates with me. Sometimes I feel a struggle between consistency and excellence, and my blogging reflects that. Also, sometimes what we may believe is a “10” doesn’t resonate with others, and sometimes what I would label a “6” gets 13 comments (which is HUGE in my little blogdom), simply because what I struggled to articulate resonated with others.

    I write because I love it. Regardless of whether I ever get any hits on my blog — do I do it because I feel compelled? Do I do it because I love it? If not another soul read it, would I still write it? Yes.

    That makes my “6”s just as important as my “10s.” I think. 🙂

  10. This is my favorite post you’ve ever had Jared. I haven’t been a 10 lately…thats why my blog hasn’t been updated in 2 months…

    But really, I agree. If I try to write something, and it is jumbled garbage, I may not post it…but its not about my ‘brand’ or my reputation, its about me and how I interact with you and my environment.

    I would rate this comment a 4… I dock myself points for unhearable sarcastic tone in the first paragraph, a really confused and jumbled second paragraph, and considering 2 sentences and fragments to be paragraphical…and for making up words

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