The Snare of "Good Enough"

leadershipThe start of anything is exciting. Could be a new project, a new job or a new relationship. It doesn’t matter—everything is fresh, hopes are high, vision is crystal clear.

Likewise, accomplishing something great is exciting. Exceeding expectations, beating the odds, going somewhere no one else has gone. The pride, the satisfaction and the enjoyment of hard-won success.

Between the Starting and the Finishing, however, there’s a whole lot of Middle, and it is rarely—if ever—exciting. The Middle is littered with pitfalls such as Leaking Vision, Plan Fixation and Mismanaged Fear. One of the sneakiest snares is the ever so enticing, Good Enough.

Good Enough is hard to fight. After all, if it’s good enough, who’s going to require more of you? Sure, you had bigger aspirations and a larger vision, but, hey, this is good enough. Besides, other things in your life are bound to suffer if you continue, so why don’t you just stop at good enough?

The only problem with Good Enough is that it rarely is.

For that reason alone, pick the things that matter to you, and refuse to settle. Don’t compromise, blink or give any ground. Be alert to any comfort along the way that might delay or prevent you from achieving your vision.

Name any exceptional leader from any sector of society—George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela—none of them ever settled for Good Enough.

Neither should you.

Where are you settling today?

14 thoughts on “The Snare of "Good Enough"”

  1. Great post and something we all need reminding of often. I’ve been working on this exact lesson for a few months and am getting much better at not settling for Good Enough.

    1. Thanks, Karen – and congratulations!
      Tomorrow I’ll be discussing ways we can push through “Good Enough.” I hope you check back and add any lessons you’ve learned!

  2. I like the phrasing of not settling, ever, on the things that truly matter to you. Such great advice! It’s about not violating or compromising on our deepest values or vision. Ever.

    However, so much of what we do is strategic or tactical and I find that on those things we’ll want to avoid being rigid. On some things I’ve found that good enough, is good enough. It’s a marathon and on those things we can improve gradually. In fact, we need to learn to be okay with doing things “badly”, then learning from those mistakes and trying again.

    Not settling doesn’t mean being perfect, but it does mean that leaders MUST always be looking to “stir the pot” and to challenge the status quo. Always. Settling for good enough is a surefire way to go the way of the dodo.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Danilo. There are definitely times when Good Enough is, indeed, good enough. As you say, my focus here is on how Good Enough can tempt us into settling on things we have no business settling on.

      In fact, you’re reading my mind as this is the subject of this Friday’s post!

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