I heard the saying that ‘Good is the enemy of Great’ a few decades ago and it’s one of those phrases that changes your whole outlook on life. At first you might think that this is trite, but think a little deeper for a moment about how a simple thought can change everything.
I was at the grocery store this morning picking up ingredients to make salsa. I much prefer homemade to jar. The cashier asked me how I’m doing today. Think about how common that is. Everywhere you go people ask you how’s your day, how are you doing, how’s it going, etc. The question is so common that we probably get asked 10 times a day. Unfortunately, the answer is also so common, as most people don’t even think about it and auto-respond with…”Good, and how are you?” But, are you really GOOD?
Why do we auto-respond with GOOD all day, when we might not be good? And, who wants to be good anyway? Good is such a mediocre, blase’, thoughtless, answer. Do you really want to be good, or do you want to be something more?
My standard answer when people ask me this question 10 times a day, is not a standard answer. This morning I answered GREAT! I will often answer fantastic, terrific, wicked awesome, superb, absolutely amazing, couldn’t be better, or some other phrase that challenges me to actually use some imagination when answering that mundane question. In fact, my goal is to answer using a different and more powerful adjective the whole day every time someone asks me.
When I answer in this fashion it freaks people out a little and they will invariably ask, “What makes you great today?” To this I answer, “Because I don’t get out of bed for just GOOD.” That usually ends the conversation and leaves people with a quizzical look on their faces. This is a my general attitude about life. It’s not worth living if it’s only going to be good, as I aspire to be so much more and, if I’m not prepared to be anything more than good today, then I’m staying in bed until I’m ready to achieve greatness.
When you get out of bed in the morning, what is the first thought on your mind. Is it “YES! I’m ready to take on the world today!” or “Crap! It’s Monday again.” Words have power. Thoughts create beliefs. Beliefs shape your destiny.
If your goal in life is to be average and mindlessly/thoughtlessly answer ‘good’ all day, then go ahead, be good. If you aspire to greatness, then you cannot be good, you must be so much more. Good is the enemy of Great as it is average and great is never average. Nobody ever became great by doing average deeds with average thoughts.
Now, take that thought even farther. Do you aspire to good at your job? Are you a good husband or wife? Are you a good parent? Are you a good teacher? Are you a good leader? Are you a good friend? If all you want to be is good, then that’s what you will be. If good is good enough for you, then I’m happy for you. Congratulations, you have joined the 99% percent who believe that is all they are capable of.
For me, I think today I want to be “Extremely and profoundly excited and thankful to be alive”. Yes, that is today’s phrase, belief, thought process, theme, mantra, and mission.
Is your company good or great? The same thought process that you as a leader must adopt, is also true for the entire company. This lesson is part of the process of Transformational Leadership. When a company is good and desires to make the transformation to become great, this requires a shift in the culture and climate of the organization. The Greatness Mindset is one of the concepts that I coach companies and executives on. Transformational Leadership is all about making the change from good to great. It requires a strong mission, a long-term plan, and solid communication that conveys the vision to the team, accompanied by leadership that sets the example. All of this is required to change the culture and climate so that it moves in the direction of greatness.
If you would like to learn more about transforming you and your company from good to great, contact me for a private consultation.
~ Matt Randall – Totally Awesome Agent of Transformation