Going from Good to Greatness

Good enough is NOT sustainable. Finding YOUR Greatness brings joy that thrives.

Ned Lips – Author

You’re living a good life. As you look at your life you say, “This is good enough. Safe. I have a decent job and I make enough money. I have a teammate, the right number of kids, a place to live and I have stuff.”

Then I annoyingly ask, “But, are you happy?”  

By far the most difficult jump in the world is from good enough, to wonderful, joyous and great. Often you have no idea that your life could be better. It’s what was expected of you. Your parents are happy. Your partner is happy enough. You make “good” money. Life is good.

If your life is a total disaster, then anything is better. But, risking screwing up “good,” is tough, mostly because it will confuse, anger, and freak-out the ones you love, which arguably will not make you happy in the short run. This is the Storm you must battle.

But you’re stuck trudging along, waiting for the day to end, then heading home to the same evening, running after kids, then heading to bed, only to get up and do it all over again. You’re following the plan everyone else has created for you, BECAUSE, you’re pretty sure, it makes them happy and you get some degree of joy from making them happy. You’re doing what everyone you’ve ever known and loved says you “should” do, BUT YOU’RE NOT INTERNALLY HAPPY. You need a change.

On page 221 – 223 of Reset, Tom makes Sarah realize that she is the leader of the Family and has done amazing things, but that they need her to step up and lead them. She’s been good enough and could stay that way. It’s safe enough. But, Sarah realizes, for the first time, that she can be GREAT.

Sarah was feeling great but also a bit guilty. “I haven’t been able to do much of anything for the Family. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Are you kidding?” Tom replied. “You raised the spirit of the entire camp. You spoke to everyone, many of whom needed to talk to you. This situation is very hard on them. Everyone’s former reality was so much better than their current one. You’re a beacon to them. You’re their savior. You’re their leader. Sure, Ms. Watson is the administrative leader. She’s masterful with people, and I still say she’s a witch. But everyone, even Ms. Watson, turns to you when anything is astray. You gave all the orders when the hail was coming, and you saved the food, the fire and who knows how many bruises from that nasty hail with your quick thinking. No one else thought of all of that.

“How many people will recover from their wounds because of your juniper berry concoction? They all simply execute your orders. You’re the CEO. Ms. Watson may be the president, but you’re the Chairman of the Board. And I’m proud to be the First Gentleman.”

She didn’t even smile but stared straight into the ground. She was too deep into computing these revelations to take in the humor. She’d always thought of herself as Ms. Watson’s first mate. But he was right. Everything the Family did, they did because she told them to. Ms. Watson executed her orders.

Reset pages 221 – 223

“But,” you say, “my life is pretty good. I have a nice job. Sure, I work too hard and, honestly, I hate it, and my boss is a jerk, but I make good money and support the family. It’s what you’re supposed to do, right? I have a nice (friend, partner, spouse, etc), who also works. We have an OK place to live. Two reasonably good kids, who I love, but really don’t see often enough. It’s just the way it is, right? Life is good enough, stable. Why should I change?”

The question you should ask is not, “Is my life good enough, when measured against the expected path for a person like me.”

The question to ask yourself is, “Am I happy? Do I find joy in my life that comes from within me?”

“Well,” you answer, “my (friend, partner, spouse, etc) and I have fun, sometimes, usually on weekends. Not like we used to, of course. It makes him/her happy when we do certain things. And the kids are good at (choose something) and we enjoy watching them do that. That’s good, right?”

These are things you enjoy, because they make people important to you happy. It’s good that you enjoy it when your loved ones are happy.

BUT, the joy does not come from deep inside you. It is not your personal joy, derived from living the life you were intended to live. The life that God, as you understand that concept, has provided for you.

Your life is destined for disaster. Ask the person whose life is already a disaster. It wasn’t always that way. It used to be “good” like yours, until he or she could no longer sustain the charade.

It is much more likely that you will go from good enough to disaster, than good enough to great and happy. That job will wear on you. You might get promoted until you work your tail off and still can’t or simply don’t want to perform. Then some youngster who actually loves what you do, will blow by you and you’ll be let go.

The gradual failure at work will weigh on your relationships. You’re never home. You’re tired and mad when you get home. You still have work to do that’s above your experience or capability, but most important, beyond your interest level. You no longer can stand to read up on the information you need in order to succeed, and you know it. You try to work at night to catch up. Then weekends. Frustration mounts.

You and your spouse begin to “grow apart.” You don’t have time for the kids, whose events were part of your limited joy. They grow up and you miss out on so much. If you keep living a joy-less life that is just good enough, you will look back and say to yourself, why on earth did I not follow the teachings in that video podcast, Resetting Your Life, that my friend told me about, whose life used to be a disaster, that I didn’t watch until now that MY life is also a disaster.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Well, going from good to great is hard for everyone, including businesses, and there is an awesome book on the subject.

The book is entitled, oddly enough, Good to Great, written and researched by a Stanford professor, Jim Collins. His team researched thousands of companies, which can be done when you have teams of free graduate school students to work for you. They identified 15 pairs of good solid companies in the same industries and tracked them back over 30 years. For a period of at least 15 years, they were extremely similar. Then at a point in time, one grew rather suddenly and aggressively and became great, while the other remained a good, solid company.

One example is Walgreens versus Eckard Drugs. If you’re old like me, you remember when they were both small, strip-center-based drug stores, with soda fountains and fried food in addition to drugs, odds and ends and, most important for me, candy, upon which to spend my lawn-cutting money. Well, Walgreens is now ubiquitous and I’m not sure I could find an Eckard Drugs anymore. How did that happen?

The researchers studied these companies and found several similarities, ones that I believe, and have for a long time, apply to ordinary human beings as well.

They discovered two processes. First, these companies discovered what they are passionate about. Then, having figured out what sort of company of people they were, they looked at that and figured out at what could they become best in the world, exploiting their passions into superpowers. Then, and this turned out to be the easiest part, how would this make them money. They found that once they were working to become best in the world at that about which they were passionate, money came.

The next discovery was what they called the fly-wheel versus the doom loop. They found that many companies, and people, have an idea, try it briefly, find its hard and quit in favor of another idea. What the successful companies did was identify and idea that they were passionate about. When things were not going perfectly, they analyzed the situation and made slight adjustments, persevering without blaming anyone. As the adjustments worked, they tweaked the ideas even more, improving them, moving them forward, persevering. Eventually the idea obtained critical velocity and was running on its own.

Why, because it was based on their passions, exploiting their superpowers, and they found joy in what they were doing, which makes it so much easier to persevere in the face of inevitable obstacles.

They were “good-enough” companies. Just like your life. But good-enough, is so unsatisfying.

THEN, one became GREAT. That is my goal for you!

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