It was early – well before regular people begin their morning commute. I savor these moments. In the quiet I am relaxed, focused, and productive.
Microsoft Outlook interrupted the silence with a reminder that it was time for my end of year review. My manager was an early riser too.
I reached for my half-full Starbucks venti something or another, Levenger notepad, pen and made my way down the hall into his office. His overhead lights were off, instead his office was illuminated by a floor lamp in an attempt to make his sterile windowless office a place that you’d want to spend time instead of a place that you were doin’ time. It worked, I was always comfortable there.
“Is this still a good time?” I said as I rapped on the aluminum doorframe. Cheerfully, he greeted me with a “Good morning, Mr. Schultz. Yes! Have a seat.”
The review went well. I knew that it would. He was good at giving real-time feedback and we saw eye-to-eye on a number of levels. Nothing that he said was news to me, until we were about to wrap up.
“We need to work on defining ‘Good enough’ for you”, he said. He felt that my deliverables were too polished; quick and dirty versions would have sufficed.
I was taken aback. He struck a nerve.
At the time, my professional aspiration was to become a project manager. I thought in terms of time and budget constantly. My deliverables were never late even if it meant that I had to sacrifice my personal time. I understood what he was getting at though. I could produce more and still make it home before the street lights came on if I lowered my standards.
I politely refused and explained that he was missing something. I wanted to be seen as an up and comer. While others were thinking about 5 o’clock on Friday, I was thinking long term. In the end it worked taking me 20 months to go from a contracted business analyst to a Senior Director, becoming a PMP certified project manager along the way.
If I started producing good enough that wouldn’t have happened. Guaranteed.
It’s been four years since I’ve had that review and I think about it every time I hear someone say “That’ll have to be good enough”.
Condoning good enough is what created this “everyone gets a trophy” society that we live in today. Frankly, I’m sick of it. It’s time that we stop rewarding mediocrity and encourage each other to pursue things with fervor.
Eliminate the phrase from your vocabulary. Better yet, eliminate it from your practices. Find the greatness inside of you.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life,
and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what
you believe is great work. And the only way to do
great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs
What’s the purpose of life without putting yourself out there and giving it your best? Find out what you’re truly capable of.
When you’re done, take a moment to think about how you’ll do it better the next time, and then do it.
Make every moment matter and make the world a better place.