Good Isn't Good Enough

Oftentimes, the advice given to young people about choosing a career path is to find what you're good at. It's well meaning advice that can help you make a decision about what to study in school or what job to take. It may even lead you towards being a great success. But what if you are good at a lot of things? It makes the path to greatness blurry at best and the energy it takes to be good at so many things can leave you feeling exhausted. And it doesn't help when people comment on how good you are at so many different things, either. It should make you feel proud, accomplished even, but it doesn’t. And that makes you feel guilty, like you don’t appreciate being good at a lot of things. That’s when you realize that good isn't good enough. Because you want to be great.

You know you can be great. However, when we are told that our greatest competition is ourselves and our goal should be to beat our own personal best, that doesn’t seem great either. Especially, when your current personal best is just good or better than average. And that’s discouraging, not motivating. If you lack the motivation, your “good” is going to be the best you ever do. So where do we find the motivation to do better than good, to become great at what we are trying to achieve? There are a few simple truths to grasp and one step to implement. It’s so simple you will kick yourself for not realizing it and wish someone had told you this sooner.

The first truth: It isn’t fear that’s holding you back. Starting off something new can be intimidating, yes…or exciting, depending on your DNA or past experiences with the unknown. Some of us thrive on change while others avoid it, oftentimes by making many smaller changes to try and get around it. Whether you thrive or hide, there’s the fear factor that typically comes along with trying something new or stepping out beyond our current level of achievement. If you’re like most people, that fear is diminished when you have someone there alongside you. While having someone there to encourage and support you is good, it’s not enough to help you become great at whatever you are trying to achieve.

Fear can be a motivator, but only as long as the fear propelling you forward is greater than the fear causing you doubt. However, that won’t last or get you far enough to become great either. Fear may get you started but it will only take you so far. So you continue to be good, not great. Instead, you need the right motivation but to understand what that is, there’s something else you need to know.

The second truth: No great success is an island unto themselves. You won’t achieve greatness independent of others. While we are told that our greatest competition is ourselves and we should always be looking to beat our own personal best, it cannot be done alone. We don’t achieve anything significant in a vacuum. We need competition in order to achieve greatness. But the purpose of competition isn’t about being better than someone else. That’s the second truth.

We are told to work towards our own personal best, to beat ourselves, compete against ourselves. This is the goal, yes, but it won’t happen devoid of competition with others. You’ve bought into the idea of competing with yourself, but that's not exactly right. True competition requires an actual opponent and the goal is to win. Let me say that another way. Winning isn't the purpose of competition. Winning is the result of competition.

The third truth: Competition with others is required to beat our own personal best.

Don't believe me? Think about this. Let’s take an Olympic race, running the 100 meter. Let’s put each of our runners at the starting block, one runner at a time. They each take turns running the 100 meter, one at a time. They are all competing for their own personal best. Then, they are all put back at the starting line together and run the same race, only now they are running at the same time. In which race will they run faster and beat their personal best, set records even? You got it, the race where they are running together. There is something physiological that happens when we compete with others who are as good as or better than us and are working towards the same goal. It’s called adrenaline. The purpose of competition is to create adrenaline.

The fourth truth: You need adrenaline to achieve greatness - your personal best.

The higher the adrenaline the higher the achievement. And you cannot create the same level of adrenaline alone as you can when you are competing alongside someone else – or being chased by a lion competing for your life. That kind of competition is required to create the highest levels of the adrenaline - naturally of course.

So, how do you create adrenaline if you are competing to be the greatest “You” that you can be? Ever watch the movie “Secretariat”? If not, find it and invest in yourself the two hours to watch it, start to finish. Turn off your phone and other media, cut off all distractions, get your bowl of popcorn, a cold drink and watch it.

Here’s where we learn the one step we need to implement in order to achieve greatness. (Spoiler alert!) The movie is based on the true story of a good horse with terrible racing skills, earning the Triple Crown and becoming the fastest race horse ever. He was good but never clocked in record speed in training. They knew he could run faster but they couldn’t get him to do it. When his jockey would run him in the lead during a race, he’d lose. Every time. It was only when the jockey realized that the horse needed to see his competition in order to build up his adrenaline did he run his fastest race. He wasn’t running against the other horses. He was doing what horses naturally do which is to run together. It's what we naturally do. When he ran just behind the lead horse, he kept pace until the last lap. When it was time, he would bolt out in front of the other horse to win. He was great. He had greatness in him. But it didn’t show until he had someone to share it with. Another horse to run with.

We are Secretariat. We need to run with others who are in our lane. We need to see our competition, not so we can beat them but so we have something to gauge ourselves against and someone to share the race with. We also need others to bring out the best in us, to challenge us, and cause us to try new things and to bring out new ideas, to create adrenaline. Want to be your personal best? Find your competition and run with them.

Here are 6 practical ways to find someone to run with, compete with and get the adrenaline flowing.

1 – Join an online group related to the area you want to achieve greatness in.

2 – Check out LinkedIn and connect with those who are already great at what you are trying to achieve.

3 – Facebook has accountability groups in nearly every industry. Find and join one, encourage others and compete.

4 – Find a coach as well as a partner to be coached with and compete with.

5 – Build a team. It can be one person that works with you or someone in your industry that works on their goals alongside you.

6 – Find affiliated industries and partner with others in those areas.

Whatever you do, find someone to do it with. You are Secretariat. You have greatness in you.

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