I think Liz and I might be bad parents… or at least that would be my conclusion, if I chose to listen to the number of other parents that I’ve met over time who believe their children are so special, have high IQ and above average in a range of other ways.
But surely Liz and I can’t be the only parents who have got ‘average’ kids, with average intelligence and average sporting ability and average in most ways of their lives… or maybe we’re just bad parents for not thinking that they’re anything other than average.
What I’m not saying is we don’t love them and think they’re special, but special to us, not ‘special’ as in outstanding.
So maybe you’re judging me now… bad parent… Right?
What’s got me thinking about this is a discussion I had recently with a CEO of a national commercial cleaning business who was talking about a conference he had attended where there was another one of these self-proclaimed motivational gurus urging the audience that everyone present were special, and that they could achieve anything they wanted to achieve in their lives.
I’ve posted before about celebrating ‘average’… because again, the majority of us are just that – Average. So if the majority of us are just average, can it really be all that bad?
What if you’re happy with being average? Does that really make you any less of a person?
What if you’re happy with your business being average – after all, not every business can be an Apple can it?
A few years ago when my son cheekily told me he was going to strive to become mediocre, I reckon on reflection, that’s nowhere near as problematic as wanting to strive for less than mediocrity – or worse, not caring at all.
If you’re running a business that is below average, surely aiming for average is a good start… no question on that!
I can just hear the shrieks from professional trainers and corporate educators shouting “No! Aim for the moon because if you miss it you’ll reach the stars” (excuse me while I vomit).
What we know from the positive psychology research is the value of realistic optimism and positivity. Being optimistic and positive can broaden your sights on what is possible, help you to see what competencies you might need to acquire and provide the motivation and grit you will require to succeed.
We also know that setting goals that are beyond your intrinsic belief system cause more people to fail than those who succeed.
“Ah Yes but” you’re saying “if no-one chooses to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals”… (excuse me while I vomit again)… “surely that means no-one is striving for the top”.
And fair enough too. But is setting the big targets really the best way to go?
I remember when I was working with the Morgan & Banks group in the early 90’s, the founding directors, Andrew Banks and Geoff Morgan saying at a conference something like “We’re not aiming to be the biggest, we’re aiming to be the best.”
Here’s the paradox of what I’m trying to suggest. When we aim to do and be the best we can with what we’ve got, average people can and do achieve above average results.
However, I think where it goes pair-shaped is when our focus is on the results and not enough on our intentions to achieve our personal best in ourselves first. To be the best we can in our character, in our relationships, in our trustworthiness, in delivering on our promises, in doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
And if that just happens to move us a notch in front of whoever we might be competing with (if we’re competing at all), then happy days.
Viva La Average!