Life has pain in it, and many people accept there are two kinds of this pain:
Discipline and regret.
I think there’s one more type of pain to avoid at all costs.
That’s the pain that comes with mediocrity.
Mediocrity is the enemy of the leader, of the person with a driven mind.
Today, we’ll talk about the pain of this concept and how to overcome mediocrity.
To overcome mediocrity, accept that mediocrity is accepting the average in your life. Rise above by playing to your strengths, surrounding yourself with a good team, and keep dreaming big.
Let’s go on this journey today, my friends.
Mediocrity Is Addictive
I want to kick off today by thinking about a quote.
We all know the Beach Boys. We love their music. They were just one of the great feel-good bands.
They really changed the game when they came onto the scene.
I think about a quote that I read by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. He said:
Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it once and you’ll suck forever.Brian Wilson
So I’m not here to talk about how you might suck at something.
Although one of the things that I do say to my team and my clients is I would truly rather completely suck at something than be mediocre at it.
I get frustrated with just the average.
I want to talk more about that here today and want you to think about your own average and how this might show up.
- What is your average in the world?
- How are you showing up and what does that look like?
- How is that based as a business leader?
Maybe you have an average-sized team or average amount of revenue in your industry.
Maybe you have an average level of profitability.
Believe it or not, I think this is the wrong thing to look at. Instead, look at what you produce in the world.
What is your team capable of? Are they giving you average or mediocrity?
What does that look like?
Because people that changed the game, changed the world, did so by challenging their own mediocrity.
Mediocrity Is Personal
I’m not talking about the world’s mediocrity.
I’m not talking about the world’s average.
My friends, I’m talking about your own level of mediocrity.
When are you being mediocre versus when are you showing up at the highest level playing full-out and giving the world, your team, yourself, your family, the very best that you have within you.
That becomes the question.
What creates your average?
When is it that you’re not showing up at the highest level, digging a little bit deeper, becoming the greatest version of yourself possible?
I don’t want this to seem tireless or impossible.
I just want you to realize that you’re here to grow.
The whole point of being on this earth, being alive at this time is to become the greatest version of yourself.
If you get sucked into mediocrity, it’s like Brian Wilson’s quote.
You’re stuck in mediocrity forever.
You don’t want that. I don’t want that for you.
That’s why we’re spending this time together.
Here’s A Different Perspective
It recently really hit me. When I go in for a big panel of blood work or whatever, I go to the doctor, and they do this big panel of blood work.
I sit down with my doctor and she’s talking to me and explaining where my levels are. Here’s what your cholesterol is, here’s your hormone level, here’s your thyroid level, and all these different things.
What was fascinating to me is how she talked about the different labs that had averages.
Here’s the range. This is what they call it in blood work, right?
Here’s the low side. Here’s the high side.
As long as you’re in that “average,” then you’re going to be okay.
Now I happen to work with a more naturalist physician, and she really takes more of a natural path.
I’m going to live a very, very long time.
So I must play the game differently than the average age.
If I’m going to live almost twice the average age, then I’ve got to do some things differently.
Beating The Average In Every Part Of Life
Do you think I’m a little off?
I laugh because people call me crazy.
You might be shaking your head right now as you read this, and that’s okay.
You laugh at me and all continue to laugh while I’m alive and enjoying this life.
But here’s the reality.
My doctor says:
You know, there are these averages, Kenny. And what happens is they change every year.
They get adjusted.
What does that mean?
The way the averages were for things that we measured 30, 40, 50 years ago, even 100 years ago, has changed based on the average of the human population and the average of people’s levels of health.
They continue to skew and change and alter what the graph looks like or where the averages are.
That is asinine to me.
I don’t want to be the average.
Would you not agree that most people in the U.S., Canada, and Australia are pretty sick?
We can even lump Europe into that.
Look around you. Most people are not mentally stable and healthy at the highest level.
They’re not healthy and feeding their families and their own careers at the highest level that they can.
We’re eating crap and putting crap in our food.
We’re not exercising and taking care of ourselves.
I don’t want to play that average.
I want to play above-average, and I want to improve my average.
How To Overcome Mediocrity: Draw The Line
Let’s think about where you’re drawing the line of mediocrity.
What does that look like? Because here’s what I’ll tell you for sure.
My friend, I want you to think about this.
Effective leaders are not mediocre.
You’re reading this because you’re a leader.
You lead people, you lead your family, you lead your church, you lead your community, or whatever it is.
It’s impossible to be mediocre and be incredibly effective.
Why? Because people are looking to you to help them, not to go do it for them, or “motivate” them.
They’re looking to you to create an environment for them to motivate themselves.
And what’s fascinating is when we let ourselves off the hook is where mediocrity shows up.
Mediocrity is the mentality where you say:
I believe I can accomplish anything! If I felt like it or actually went out to do it, but I don’t want to right now.
What does that mean?
Find What You Excel At And Go For It
When I do podcasts and these blog posts, I don’t do everything myself.
I come into the studio and record my podcast. And that is the last time I touched it.
It goes to my team. They edit it, they break it up. They slice dice, change the audio, whatever they do to it, then they go ahead and publish it.
I speak and then the audio gets turned into text, formatted, and posted as a blog.
They get it out there, so I can connect with you.
I don’t want to do all those other things.
I want to connect with you at a human level.
That’s what I’m on the planet for.
Other people are on the planet to help out and to do those different things.
That’s what it’s all about.
If I force myself to do things against my talents, I lower myself to mediocrity and remove the chance for others to rise above their mediocrity.
Get A Good Team Around You
Yet people downplay that.
I remember I was at a seminar, and I was talking about Richard Branson.
Oh, well, Branson’s a playboy.
He does this and that, but he has a whole team.
You don’t understand, Kenny.
I can’t do that because he has a team of people.
I want you to think about that.
Think about what you’re telling yourself right now.
You have to stay mediocre because you’re measuring yourself against Richard Branson.
Now I don’t care about anything that Richard Branson does or doesn’t do.
I’m not him. I’m not looking for him to lead me, but I am looking at different mirrors.
And it’s fascinating when I was watching an interview with him and the person interviewing him said:
“You know, Richard, when’s the last time you did your own laundry?”
And he said, “Huh? You know, I’ve never done my own laundry in my whole life. When I was a kid, my mum did my laundry.”
Why look down on that?
He grew up, he got older, and he got into the business. He has people to do his laundry.
That challenges some of you, I’m sure.
What does that mean? He’s not cleaning his own house.
The next thing they asked about was the grocery store. Nope, he’s never been.
The lovely Christy and I actually liked to go to grocery stores when we’re traveling and see new products and how people are doing different things and merchandising.
I liked the grocery store.
But Branson didn’t have any need or desire to do that.
That’s my mediocrity.
I don’t want to go shopping.
I can have someone else do that, so I can step into my greatness and play that game.
Think about that.
Put In The Time
Oftentimes people will come up when I’m presenting and go, “Man, I want to do what you do. I’d love to do what you do for a living.”
John Maxwell has a great response to this:
“Okay, here’s the question? Are you willing to do this daily?
Are you willing to do what I’ve done every single day for the last 50 years in order to get to do what you see me doing today? “
Think about that.
My friend, see we have our own mediocrity.
And then when we break out, we want it to happen immediately.
I know I want to be at Maxwell’s level.
I want to author millions and millions of books that get sold.
Or I want to author a few books and sell millions of copies.
I guess I want to have the top leadership brand in the world.
And I want to have a following that I can influence and impact, but I’ve only been doing this for six months as of this writing.
I’ve got to put in my time; we’ve got to share our time.
You’ve got to help me by sharing this. There’s a little hope and wish plug, by the way, share this if you’re getting value.
The reality is you got to do it every day to continue to break your mediocrity.
If You Stop Thinking Big, You Welcome Mediocrity
Here’s the second thing I want to share with you.
If you stop thinking big, you better welcome mediocrity.
And my friend, when you welcome mediocrity, you are saying yes to pain today.
We’re talking about that third pain point mediocrity.
If you missed my posts on the other pain points, click the links below:
You’ve got to step out of it.
You’ve got to challenge it because when we step into a mediocre existence, everything stops.
It’s like cutting out the lights.
It’s like shutting down the lifeblood to your dreams.
I was just talking to a client last week about the “midlife crisis.”
This is a perfect example of allowing yourself to stop thinking big.
It’s just a label in the human brain.
What does that mean? It means that our mediocrity is sucking the life out of them.
And they’re waking up one day, generally in the middle of their life going:
Is this it?
Is this all there is for me?
This is what I worked for?
This is what I raised kids for?
I was super blessed to have a lot of time with Les Brown several years ago.
We spoke in 15 cities on a trip with him for seven months and different things.
Here’s what Les said:
“Your dream was given to you. If someone else can’t see it for you, that’s fine. It was given to you and not them. It’s your dream. Hold it, nourish it, cultivate it now to save you from rewinding.”
That’s what happens with mediocrity. You get stuck in mediocrity because other people aren’t seeing it for you.
Sometimes people aren’t even supporting you. You get sucked in.
And all of a sudden, as Brian Wilson said, you licked that lollipop of mediocrity.
Now you’re just sucked into it and you’ll suck forever.
I don’t want you to suck forever. You don’t want to suck forever.
Mediocrity sucks. My friend, it’s time to step into your greatness.
Break your average, get out of your average, and make it happen.
Until next time, make it a better-than-fantastic day!