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Reflections On Mediocrity

Often we think of mediocre people or mediocre organizations as those that don’t perform well, at least in comparison to their peers.

I hadn’t realized my understanding of mediocrity was wrong.  It was actually an interview of comedian Norm MacDonald when the true definition emerged: Mediocrity is failing to perform to your full potential.

It really struck me: When we fail to perform to our full  potential, we are choosing mediocrity.

It’s amazing how often I see people, sometimes myself, choosing mediocrity.  Most sales people, managers, business professionals I encounter know what they should be doing.  We’ve read enough, we’ve been in enough training classes, perhaps we’ve been coached.  We also have the capability to perform better than we do.

We may be lazy from time to time. Alternatively, we may be overwhelmed and overloaded.  Sometimes we take shortcuts, sometimes we are simply sloppy.

Every time we do these things, we are choosing mediocrity.

If one doesn’t have an ability, skill, or competency, it can be changed.  We can learn these things, practice them, master them and grow.  We can always be improving.

But mediocrity is about wasted potential.

The difference between mediocrity and greatness comes down to one thing: Choice.

We make hundreds of choices in everything we do each day. In each of those opportunities we choose to be great or we choose to be mediocre.

If it is simply a matter of choice, isn’t it craziness to choose mediocrity?

David Brock is president of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a management consulting firm focused on sales productivity, channel development, strategic alliances and more. Read more of his blogs here.

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