Ask your mentor: Is being moderate good enough?

As a business mentor, I come against this theme on a constant and regular basis.

I realise that the client is not progressing. I ask searching questions why they are holding themselves back. I can see them struggling to spurt out any answer, except for the one on the tip of their tongue. I prod a touch more. Silence. One more jab and……out comes the pain, sheepishly and quietly.

Basically, the client refuses to take the next step because they are afraid that it – the final product or service or whatever – will not be “good enough”. The outcome will be “OK” at best. They will be judged as MODERATE by customers and friends, and that just will not do.

I then look at the client. Some appear relieved to have finally “admitted their guilty thought in public”. Some are embarrassed. Some give me a quizzical face as if to say: “surely you feel the same way”.

So let’s consider why “it won’t do”.

From our earliest years, we are conditioned to do our best.  We must be excel. The implication is that any alternative is a disappointment and just not good enough. You simply end up being “moderate”, and you would not want that to happen, would you? And that is the mindset many of my clients carry forward into adult life and hang on their professional career.

How many of us received school reports that said that “you can do better”? The teacher was probably correct. But how many of us also received a parallel comment that said: “However, what has been achieved to date is also pretty good”? If only somebody had offered me that bit of hope.

Now, let’s revert back to my clients. I ask them to look around and show me something that is “excellent and perfect”; a piece of furniture, a cup of coffee, a piece of attire, anything. And of course, nothing can be found. I then ask them to point out something that is pretty good, and here there is no shortage of responses.

Then I pose my client a very simple question: While, I am sure that the creators of the furniture or drink or clothing are striving for excellence, is what they have achieved very good? Is it acceptable?

Ergo, just because you are not perfect does that make you moderate.

As a business coach, I would rephrase that statement. Sure, it is wise to strive to be the best, but you also have so much to offer your own customers who so are “very very good”. Is that being moderate? Who cares? Go and enjoy life without any false guilt trips.

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