Welcome back, friends.
Today, I’m coming to you with a simple question:
Are you comfortable with mediocrity?
It’s a fair question, though I hear you yelling back at me now.
Heck no, Kenny. I don’t want to be mediocre.
OK. Fair enough.
No entrepreneur or person reading my blog posts wants to be OK. We want to be excellent, and I encourage you to do this every single time we meet.
Fine. Let me rephrase the question:
Why are you comfortable with mediocrity?
In today’s post, we’ll look at mediocrity, overcome it, and why we settle for less than we should be.
It’s a deep and painful topic but essential for stepping into our greatness.
Take a breath, my friends, and dive with me.
Why Are You Comfortable With Mediocrity?
Well, wait a minute, Kenny. That’s not fair. I’m not! I just said I’m not.
Calm down and stick with me.
I want you to think about your mediocrity. I want us all to confront our mediocrity.
We all have it. There are areas we all can improve on.
How about that?
My mediocrity is different than my mediocrity was when I was 17.
My level of mediocrity is different from some of my other friends that are in business.
You know, my mediocrity is different within my health than other people.
My mediocrity is different within my finances, within my business, within my influence, or whatever you’re thinking.
Different people have different levels of mediocrity.
We need to realize we are mediocre in some ways. First, we need to learn today and own that it’s OK.
We are OK with a certain level of mediocrity.
If that’s the case, let’s raise the bar.
My First Service Business
I was very blessed to run a service business for 24 years. While I had that company, I built an excellent leadership team that made it very self-managing.
I ended up selling it to one of the people on that leadership team that now runs a business in her way.
One of the exciting things is that I would ask anybody in my company:
What does Kenny absolutely despise?
Anybody would be able to tell you mediocrity.
Why? Because I want to play full out.
I would rather wholly suck at something and know it than to just kind of go along through life doing only OK.
I’ve got too much passion for that.
We are only here for a limited amount of time.
I know this from real experience in my own life.
You know this from real experience in your own life.
If we’re here on this earth just for a minute, we need to go all out.
Looking At Ourselves
I’m going to play full out in some areas. I’ll realize: “wow, I’m not very good at that.”
That might not be part of my calling.
We need to play full out in the areas where we have a unique ability and gift.
This is where we can make a big difference.
When you think about this, realize that we create mediocrity by trying to make ourselves someone we’re not.
It’s like classes in life. There are some statistics out there.
Some socio-economic class studies show how difficult it is based on where you were born and raised to break class.
That is 1,000% true.
But you can find people that have broken their socio-economic class.
I’m not minimizing anybody’s circumstance whatsoever.
I am here to tell you if you can create what you want.
I don’t care where you are, and I don’t care about your financial situation.
Your level of “formal education” doesn’t matter to me.
Some of the best education on the planet happens in life without classes.
Live Like Your On An Airplane
Let’s throw out socio-economic class, and let’s talk about the class that you create.
I know that I’m blessed in my career.
I didn’t fly first class with a commercial airline until I was in my early thirties.
When I finally got to fly first class, I was like: “Holy cow, look at these comfortable seats and different things.”
Then you realize how many points it’s costing. It’s too much money in my opinion of value.
Coach is right for me. Fortunately. I’m not a big guy. I don’t have not super long legs and all that stuff.
But here’s what’s fascinating.
The first time the lovely Christy and I wanted to go to Australia. We started thinking about what class of the plane we wanted to take.
Because now I’m talking about a 16-hour flight.
That’s a long time to be on an airplane for anybody. I don’t care who you are.
It’s a long time. I heard this metaphor recently where we treat life like classes when it comes to flying.
What would be the ultimate class when you think about flying?
It’s not first-class. Private. Is it class?
You know, my friends, the one where you just roll up onto the tarmac in your car, hop out, and somebody grabs your bags.
They take you onto the airplane.
Your favorite drink of choice is already made.
If you’re vegan, there’s a perfect lunch that is ready to go.
Maybe it’s double pepperoni, double cheese pizza, whatever you want.
They’ve got it. That is the ultimate class.
Some people actually do choose to fly that way.
That’s all fine.
Now, where do we go from there?
These are metaphors for mediocrity.
Class By Class
Well, now we’ll look at commercial class.
Everybody wants first class, but when we step back into the next rung “down,” we don’t call it “second class.” Nobody wants to live a second class life.
Whether it’s business or executive class, whatever it is, it isn’t “first-class.”
And you know what, it’s still pretty darn good.
Then we go back to economy or coach, and now things look quite different.
But it’s still not calling it what it is in their minds. Third, fourth class.
Now some airlines have some economy plus.
What if we just called it like it is.
Nobody we are proud to say, “I want to be in the fourth class today. I’m going to save some dough on my ticket.”
Maybe we should.
What’s fascinating, though, is all those are different value propositions.
They’re all those different investments to acquire that class of that experience.
Are you with me?
Sometimes you want to fly first class. Sometimes you want to save money. It’s just a trip, after all.
I wanted to go first class to Australia. That’s a long trip.
Then I realized it was $27,000 to go to Australia.
I guess coach looks pretty good right now,
Christy, we’re going to stand on our heads in the back of the airplane, vs. 16 hours, if it’s a $27,000 round trip, right?
However, some people invested that because it’s not a big deal to them regarding finances.
It goes to a value proposition.
Remember, it’s no different than any price conversation, right? Price and value.
They’re always at war.
Some people see that as valuable enough and go ahead and invest in that ticket.
Back To Life And Mediocrity: Enabling Choice
I want you to take the flying back to our life situation.
Where are you investing your value?
What class of life do you want to live in?
I’m not talking just money here.
My friends, money is not the end-all. Neither do I believe the whole:
Oh, you should be poor. And there’s a badge.
Money brings some enrichment in life. It doesn’t make you happy, but I also want you to be clear that freedom comes in choice.
What I’m looking for is the freedom to choose.
If I want to be first-class, I want to have the money to fly.
That’s not the question. The question is:
Do I see enough value to do that in today’s world?
Let’s find the balance.
I want to have the ability to choose and to choose with a conscious choice.
The same is true for you.
Comfort Breeds Mediocrity
Now let’s tie back to mediocrity.
How does this show up?
Sometimes comfortable breeds mediocrity. I’m not talking about being happy; I’m talking about being comfortable.
I got a little lazy back in 2007; the lovely Christy and I took a six and a half month motorhome trip.
I wanted to test my service business by testing my leadership team.
We hit the road for six and a half months in our coach.
I did a speaking engagement about every month to six weeks, and we rode around.
Guess what we did? We ate a lot, drank a lot, and sat a lot.
We sat by the pool a lot.
All these things, it was a fantastic trip.
27 States and eight in 18 months was phenomenal.
As we kind of went through the beginning of this trip, it was like the honeymoon.
We didn’t have zoom and different things, but I stayed in touch with my leadership team.
I got reports from my team, and I did my speaking engagement about every 6 weeks. I even wore a suit.
Notice I don’t wear a suit when I train now because I believe in authenticity, and I don’t wear a suit any other time.
Why would I wear a suit when I’m training?
I believe in authenticity. That’s what it’s all about.
The Moment Of Change
I’m driving the camper around. Christy’s getting me snacks with our wine.
We’re drinking (I drank back then), so I get cocktails or whatever.
One time, as soon as we rolled into our RV resort for the evening, all of a sudden, I put on my suit and went:
Hmm, this is a little tighter than it was about a month ago when I did a gig.
Whatever. I go through the gig, and we’re staying at a hotel during the event.
We work out at their gym and do our thing.
Then I went about six weeks without another speaking engagement.
I’m in more board shorts, we’re driving and doing our thing. We’re living life, sightseeing, eating, and drinking.
Next thing I know I can’t button my pants, my friends.
That was very uncomfortable for me. We’ve got to change something.
From that level of discomfort, Christy ended up writing a book called The Six-Step Diet.
We created this health plan.
This light bulb completely changed how we saw fitness, health, and eating all kinds of different things.
I’m in a perfect routine now. I’m very clear in my life.
You know, I was doing some different things back then that weren’t serving me. I’ve eliminated them from my life.
This isn’t about that.
This is about when you get uncomfortable.
To deny mediocrity is to get uncomfortable. I could have just bought a new suit or a new belt.
No. I told myself to “tighten” it up. “
You need to tell yourself, “tighten it up.”
Final Thoughts: Get Uncomfortable
When I talk about finances, we need to tighten the belt a little bit.
Guess what? That represents pain for people.
Most of us don’t want to tighten the belt because that’s uncomfortable.
Here’s the reality.
We all have our own mediocrity.
We look around and say, “huh? It’s not that bad.”
Let’s carry that weight metaphor along. We look around, and the whole world is getting heavier.
Then, we look at others and say, “I’m not as heavy as that person. I’m doing fine.”
It’s the same with debt.
“Man, everyone has so much debt. I’m not as bad off as them, so I’m doing fine.”
So we cannot collect more and more debt.
We’re creating our level of mediocrity.
Now is the time to change it.
Why are you comfortable right now?
Why are you comfortable with mediocrity?
I want you to say:
“I’m not comfortable with it. Kenny. I’m creating my new reality.”
Then your life, your success, and your situation are just like a thermostat on the wall.
You get to set the temperature.
Now go to work, creating the environment that you want to have.
Until we talk again, get a little uncomfortable, and step into your greatness.
About Kenny Chapman
Kenny Chapman’s mission is to help driven leaders build their ideal lives and careers (even if they don’t know what that looks like yet). He is an award-winning authority on helping people discover their true potential and make the simple, though not always easy, necessary changes.
Kenny is a professionally trained speaker, consultant, columnist, author of The Six Dimensions of Change 2.0 and In-Home Sales Acceleration, and host of the Leadership in a Nutshell podcast. He is an entrepreneur at heart, building multiple successful companies, most recently the Blue Collar Success Group. His teachings have inspired individuals worldwide to reshape their lives and organizations, creating sustainable change, happiness, and personal fulfillment.