Have you ever thought about how exhausting it is to be mediocre? That may seem like a crazy question at first. After all, almost by definition, doesn't mediocre mean that you are putting forth very little effort? And shouldn’t less of an effort require less energy to be exerted?

Well, I guess if you are talking about pure physical effort, then maybe mediocrity is easier. But, as I look at it, total effort is only about 20% physical and 80% mental. It’s the mental exhaustion that comes with mediocrity that is truly exhausting.

In sales, mediocre prospecting makes every prospect you do have irrationally important.

You become so worried about not making them upset in some way that you leave no opportunity to truly impress them. You become so afraid of losing the prospect that you cede control of the sales process to the prospect. Trying to direct a process without maintaining control is going to suck the energy right out of you, leaving you totally exhausted. Trying to control 5 prospects who are all wandering in different directions is significantly more exhausting than you controlling 20 whom you are directing down a single path – yours. I don’t mean identical solutions for each, but I do mean an identical process.

Mediocre service leaves you no margin for error.

Mediocre service only means that you are capable of reacting to situations your clients throw at you. By the time they throw it your way, they are upset and expect something to be done immediately. And, even when you hit that expectation, you don’t really get any credit because doing so actually is their minimum expectation of you. How exhausting is it to have countless clients who may be throwing you something urgent at any moment knowing you have to catch every single one? Instead, take control.

On your terms, proactively deal with the issues that eventually result in client problems. They will be much more appreciative of you preventing problems than they are of you fixing them.

Mediocre leaders only stay a single step ahead of their team and exhaust the entire team in the process.

Remaining one step ahead may be fine for some of the tactical issues, but it’s insufficient for hitting strategic goals/objectives. Now, compare that to a leader who paints an extremely clear picture of where the team is going, where they will be 5 steps from now, how they will get there, and the contributions expected from each team member. When every step is perceived as the destination, you operate in constant panic mode and it feels like you run the race countless times over.

However, when the course is laid out in front of us, we can run the race with more confidence. A confidence that leads to a much more comfortable pace, one that is much less exhausting.

Yes, mediocrity is exhausting for everyone.

If you are a mediocre performer, the stress that comes with knowing you’re likely to be outperformed at any moment is exhausting. The stress that comes with knowing your mediocre performance leaves no margin for error is overwhelming. The stress that comes from not ever being able to take control will wear you out.

And, if you are on the receiving end, the frustration that comes with mediocrity is just as exhausting. After all, it will always require more effort on your part to work with someone who is simply adequate.

Not only is it less exhausting to be excellent, excellence actually generates its own energy.

Just look around you at someone who is consistently excellent. I would just about guarantee that you will also find someone who consistently has more energy for what he/she does. Don’t fool yourself, its not the energy that creates the excellence, it’s the excellence that creates the energy.

 

Photo by Evil Erin.