Embracing Mediocrity Comes At A Price
This is a fantastic essay Michelle. I found it so useful as a mirror to reflect on my own life experience and my current endeavors with respect to how much commitment I have, and where mediocrity is lurking, waiting to get a foothold if I'd let it. I especially resonate with the stepping back when some setback or criticism comes, telling myself some reason that I'm backing off, when in actuality there is fear of failing again, or more. This is such an authentic and insightful share. Thanks for posting this one.
Awesome piece Michelle. Resonated to the point of discomfort (in the best way), and made me reflect on some of my current projects. Thanks for continuing to do your thing.
Mediocrity has a cousin. Procrastination. Never trying means no rejection. It’s a default setting. Hard wired in my own case. Thanks for sharing a marvellous, insightful, essay. Truly inspiring.👏✍️
this is why I think the dichotomy of generalist vs. specialist is false
the thing / "our calling" / our craft is the unique blend of all of our interests and skills
it's like the Scott Adams thing about being top 25% in two things and finding the intersection instead of trying to be the top 1% in one thing: https://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/career-advice.html
but on steroids,
like if you were the top 40% in 10 different disciplines and found something that involved all 10 things, then you'd be the very best in the world at that
Amazing reminder to choose greatness in at least one thing, and have the necessary self-reflection to know which one. So well written Michelle, happy to be reading you again, and very ready for you to be tied to the mast and grace us with your essays!
Reading your school band experience reminded me of my time playing the clarinet in junior high. Mrs. Steele, God rest her soul, placed me second chair behind Maya. I wanted first chair so I challenged her and won. She wasn’t a happy camper, and it did affect our friendship. My victory didn’t last long. The rules allowed you to challenge again after a two week period. Yes, she challenged me and I got beat. I deserved it. I didn’t prepare like I should have. I remained at second chair until I started the saxophone in high school. I settled for second chair because it was “safe.” No one challenges for second chair. All that to say is I understand your message here. I get it. Now I’m striving to be the best teacher I can be and be better at everything else. Thanks for your essay. I enjoyed it immensely. By the way, Maya and I are still good friends to this day and I’m still playing the clarinet and saxophone. ☺️
you sure know how to tug at my type A heart strings
Awesome piece Michelle! The siren call of mediocrity is such a real thing in our world of quietly quitting. I think one idea that comes through in this essay is that since you can’t be the top 1% at everything, you may have to be mediocre at some things. It’s just a matter of being deliberate about where you choose to shine.
As George Lois said, "Only with absolute fearlessness can we slay the dragons of mediocrity that invade our gardens."
Each day we must slay those dragons.
Superb essay, Michelle. Filled with many lessons, shared authentically, and ones we can all relate to in some degree.
I wouldn’t be surprised if all that sales training comes round to serve you down the road. Life’s later years often stitch together the many parts of our early experiences.
Michelle- from the moment we met, I knew there was something about you I liked. Now I know, a fellow trumpet player!!! I loved your story. It took me back. Waaay back!
really good piece - honest, thought-provoking and inspiring
I resonate with this in many ways. I think sometimes it's difficult to seek discomfort in all areas of our lives at once, but one to watch out for and maybe recognise when is the right time to make a change :)
So good Michelle. Love the honesty and vulnerability you tapped into here. I hung on every word.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ambition not as linear but as sinusoidal. When we fail or get knocked down, our ambition can waver and we may set our sights lower.
What scares me is lowering my ambition because a failure hurt, but then failing to fulfill my potential.
Thank you for continuing to write and share your gifts :)
This resonates a lot. Although, for my current self, mediocrity is a dark grim place I don't want to go back to.
I've put so much effort and "blood, sweat & tears" into getting to the top 1% of worldwide performers. It scares me to death to even consider a lesser path now even if it's more "comfortable".