In a relentless competitive environment, people get overworked; they get involved in many initiatives, their calendar is full with meetings, and the beeping from the incoming emails goes on constantly.
In order to cope, the concept of ‘good enough to proceed‘ has gained momentum. It definitely helps with crossing things from our long ‘to do’ list. Does it result though in our superior performance? Do we end up getting better at specific skill?
“Not necessarily” would be my answer.
The general saying that ‘practice makes you better’ does NOT hold true. We become better only with deliberate practice.
Just doing the same thing frequently doesn’t result in becoming an expert. Think about your driving skills. After a while, although you become more comfortable, the performance reaches a plateau – unless you consciously and intentionally make an effort to improve.
On the other side, is it realistic to always strive for superior results?
We all live very busy lives both professionally and personally. Most of the time, we barely manage to keep it together. Does it make sense to impose ourselves higher standards?
There are reasonable arguments for both positions. Maybe the best way forward is somewhere in between.
My advice is: be selective on where to focus your energy, effort and time.
Identify one or two areas critical for your work and/or your career development and focus on becoming an expert on them. Don’t accept ‘good enough’ standards on these areas. Make a conscious effort to continuously raise them. Small incremental improvements will eventually have a big impact.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Experienced people can provide you with invaluable insights during this journey.
Be patient. It takes time to move from ‘good enough’ to become an expert. Focus on what you can control. Monitor results but don’t get disappointed if you don’t see the incremental gains immediately. Remember ‘deliberate practice makes you better.’ Invest time and effort to hone the skills you selected. Persistence is crucial. Do your part of the deal.
You may have noticed that I avoid using the word perfection. Philosophically, I don’t believe that this state is attainable. Hence, I find it more realistic to talk about striving to become better than perfect. But you may have a different view. Whatever motivates you.
The bottom line: Don’t accept ‘good enough’ standards. Identify the skills you want to hone and do your part of the deal.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply. She passionately believes in empowering people to make informed decisions about their career and their finances. She is a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. In her limited spare time, she wants to join forces with others to help everybody to be a better version of themselves.