I had a chuckle this morning in my gym, where the owner has created the cheesiest wall of “inspirational quotes”. The first one I saw was smack in the middle of the wall: Never Settle.
Never Settle – my Mum used to say this to me. Growing up in an environment where “having” meant collaboration with the oppressive regime we were proud to do “without”. Our wealth was being current in literature, film, theatre, and knowledgeable about the affairs of politics and sciences alike. The “Never Settle” still rings in my heart, as it translates into being always curious and relentlessly pursuing excellence.
This attitude created in me a belief that there is always more to us than what we think.
At work, it forms a foundation upon which I approach each of my assignments – a stubborn and unwavering belief that we can be better, as individuals, teams and organizations. That, if we do not settle, we can outperform, outsmart, create something surprising and – make a real difference. I am convinced that if we dismiss the comfort of doing just OK, we can transform ourselves and our surroundings. We can be remarkable, unforgettable and simply inspiring.
Yes, I have a blind spot and experience trouble acknowledging limitations: my team has told me in the past that I expect too much. My son has told me the same thing. But that does not dissuade me to stop. It does, however, make me ponder, how to not intimidate, and keep the Never Settle in the positive zone.
So… If you are like me – the following tips can help to manage this Never Settle mindset. And, if you are struggling with performance and need to cope with mediocrity – these might help you develop a new habit.
- Manage your time – keep the schedule busy, but carve out the time to think. Never settling can be exhausting; if not to you, then to others. Ask yourself if settling is really OK, the best way to go in the current circumstances? If we can face keeping the bar rising, and If we can be made to see the growth and many benefits of never settling, perhaps we will then be unwilling to accept mediocrity for the rest of our lives.
- Know what drives you – what is your passion, your cause. Then validate if others can be equally excited about it as you are. People go the extra mile for something they love.
- Be clear about the standards you demand – in your mind, and also through your communication to others. Ensure the context behind your standards is well articulated, because what is obvious to you… you know…
- Role model that you are willing to do what needs to be done to drive excellence – be willing to do the job others shy away from.
- Stay curious, be ahead of the curve on what is new in your field. This will ground you in the arguments you use, and bring a sense of proportion to your demands.
- Assess the capabilities of your team. Perhaps you push too hard… or perhaps you have the wrong team. Act on your assessment.
- Since Never Settling is demanding, take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.