This article was written in partnership with Greg Friese at Everyday EMS Tips. Greg and I decided to both write on the topic, “You don’t have to settle.” You can find Greg’s contribution here. If you’re an EMS blogger we’d like to invite you to write your own post on this topic. Send me an e-mail an we’ll add your link as well.
What makes you afraid?
When we were kids we were afraid of things like the boogie man, monsters in our closets and thunder storms. As we become adults we got over most of those fears. We recognized them for the irrational and false beliefs that they were and we grow up. You might even say that letting go of these irrational fears is a part of becoming an adult.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that our fears went away. It also doesn’t mean that our big people, grown-up fears are any more rational than our childhood fears were. Just as certainly as kids will be afraid of thunder and dark closets at night, the grown-up boogie man is failure.
Adults fear failure. We take comfort in the security and predictability of success. As a result, we tend to look toward endeavors where success is a near certainty. Playing the game well within the boundaries of our ability is a great way of warding off the fear monster. We get to chose our goals and our challenges. Out on the outer edges of our abilities lies the dark closet where the possibility of failure lies in wait.
I know what you’re thinking. OK, now Steve is going to give us the old, “Let go of your fears and aim for high goals” speech. We’ll not quite. Yes, I think there’s great benefit in letting go of the fear of failure. But I’d like to go a step farther. I think that there is a much scarier boogie man than failure. I’d like to give you something even more worrisome to fear. A monster that is responsible for far more human grief, failed ambitions and shattered dreams than failure. If you’re going to walk around with a gut full of irrational fear, fear this:
Fear almost good enough.
That’s right. Almost good enough can rob you of your dreams. Almost good enough can make you forget what it was you were trying to do in the first place. Not good enough comes with a heavy dose of motivation. Exactly what you wanted can take you to the next level. But almost good enough might – it just might – tempt you to settle.
You settle for the EMT job with the other company. You settle for the shift that doesn’t work with your other goals, the skills that seem to get you by, the knowledge that’s adequate most of the time and the career path that leaves all the decisions in the hands of someone else.
You don’t have to settle. You make a decision to settle every day. Every time you see something that’s almost good enough and you decide to change your standards, you settle.
(Inspired by Seth Godin)