When the fierce, feminine forces of SheTaxi told me the theme for the month was “acceptance,” I honestly have to say I was not pumped. In fact, I panicked a bit, and really struggled with what to write. Yikes! After my initial reaction, I looked up the term in the dictionary just to double check the meaning. Here’s what I found:
1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.”
I understand all of them; however, where I struggle most are with definitions 3 & 4. Assenting sounds like giving in and giving up to me.
Keep moving forward
Coaching and mentoring a lot of people in my life–mainly college students, young professionals, and friends–I usually tell people to go for it! Get up, get on, keep moving forward, and do something! Doing something is better than doing nothing!
I always remind everyone, including myself, that inaction and accepting something without truly believing in it, can lead to two of the worst things of all in my book: apathy, and regret.
Because I’m someone who would rather fight than flee, go out of my way to make a wrong right, and get something fixed rather than complaining about a problem and doing nothing, I’m here to get you thinking about when, in fact, it is OK to not accept acceptance. Here are three instances:
1. “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
The classic, last resort excuse not to try new ideas and take new courses of action. If anyone lays this excuse on you, and has no other valid reasons to accept something you know is wrong, you should reject this form of acceptance. Your boss is paying you to do a job, but also paying you to do that job to the best of your ability. That includes process improvement, and if you aren’t improving, you are hurting your company, and yourself.
2. “You’re not following the normal path.”
Just because something may have never been tried before, or you’re not following the “normal” path, this is yet another time to not accept the excuse. I had a friend who asked for advice on a job post recently, where she wanted to know if she could skip a “normal” pathway position to get to a higher position. I’ll tell you what I told her. If you believe you’re qualified, then go for it! What is NORMAL, anyway? Besides, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and the worst the other side can say is “no.”
3. “We expect and accept only perfection.”
If you have a job, a boss, or a friend who suffers from perfection paralysis, this is yet another instance where I’m going to allow you to buck the system. Perfection doesn’t exist. There’s good and good enough. My favorite personal example is writing. I’ve published several books now, and I have a few people in my network who love to spot each and every writing flaw in my books when they come out. Do I welcome their criticism? Sure. I want to improve. However, their opinions frankly don’t really carry as much weight with me unless they’ve actually published something themselves, and I’ve asked for their opinion. Until then, I don’t accept their unrealistic need to be perfect, because I’m not perfect.
Acceptance isn’t always a good thing, especially in the three cases I explained above. Besides, there are far, far worse things than not embracing acceptance—apathy, indifference, and regret to name just a few.
 Dictionary.com, definition of “acceptance.”