One Step Away from Fired: Mediocre

Mediocrity kills greatness. A job that is “good enough” is not good enough. Working “hard enough” is not hard enough. Mediocre is one step away from fired.

I know people who were good at their jobs who got fired. They weren’t great, but they certainly weren’t bad. They spent years getting “good enough” at what they did, but not enough time focusing on how good they could be.

In Paul Arden’s It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, he says that your goals have to be outrageous. Don’t make your goal merely getting the promotion you want, or about the success of your next product or idea; make your goals crazy.

What is the best job in the world, in your eyes? Make that your goal. It doesn’t matter if that job seems unreachable, or if that idea is ridiculous, shoot for it. Why? If you don’t make it, you will have an incredible journey along the way.

Sure I might be an idealist. But ideas can change the world. And it takes a little idealism to create a better reality than the one we live in. What could a little idealism do for your reality?

Maybe your goals are too short-sighted. Maybe you’re not as successful as you would like to be because your goals aren’t ridiculous.

Given, the outrageous goals shouldn’t be your only goals, because that too is short-sighted. Plan for now and later. But planning for now is probably not your problem. I’m betting your problem is not being outlandish enough about the future–a future you could create.

Here’s a few practical tips for being more outlandish with your goals:

  1. Ask yourself: What’s the best job in the world?
  2. Come up with one practical way to start moving in that direction
  3. Meet with someone who has moved in that direction–not necessarily the person who has the job you want–but someone who is farther along than you. Ask them questions, lots of them.
  4. Then do it; hit the first goal. Make it happen. You know you can. What’s stopping you?

Stop being mediocre. Sure, you may be great. But if you’re not become greater, then you’re not reaching your potential. That makes you mediocre in the scale of how amazing you could be.

What’s your first step? Drop a comment. Let me know.


(The link to It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be is an affiliate link. I highly recommend you read this often outlandish book. It’s also a fascinating example of how cool print books could be. Thanks to Bob Pritchett for buying me a copy to read.)

2 Responses to “One Step Away from Fired: Mediocre”

  1. Jenny Rae Armstrong March 25, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Great post! Step one for me–take control of my schedule, instead of letting it take control of me. 🙂 Reaching outrageous goals is going to take an outrageous amount of focus.

    Long live idealism!!!

    • John D. Barry March 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Jenny. Great tips.

      Anyone else want to chime in with their tips?

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