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December 28, 2020 4 mins

Decide when good enough is good enough and when it isn’t

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Good morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the New Corner Office,
the podcast where we share strategies for thriving in the
new world of work, where location and ours are more
flexible than in the past. Today's tip is to do
what's necessary unless you decide to do more. For so

(00:28):
much in life, good enough is good enough, and doing
a good enough job on most things allows you to
choose a few things where you truly knock it out
of the park. I'm guessing that most listeners of this
podcast are not underachievers. You are exceptionally hard working. You

(00:50):
took your A plus student performance straight into the working world,
and that's great. I salute you. I like to pride
myself on setting high stay nards too, but it's important
to know when you're doing more or setting higher standards
than is expected or necessary. It's wise to discern what
is good enough for a given purpose and then make

(01:13):
a conscious decision about whether to do more than that.
I was recently in a group where several people commiserated
about a particular early career experience staying up late, maybe
even all night, to complete something for a client who
then didn't even look at it. We can laugh at that,

(01:33):
but I'm sure many of us have done something similar.
But here's the problem. This isn't a victimless crime. We
all have twenty four hours a day, which means that
no one has time to do everything spectacularly. Choosing to
do an amazing job on something that didn't wind up
mattering means you can't bring your best self to something

(01:57):
that might matter far more. If you stay up all
night completing a project and then miss an opportunity to
mentor a colleague who will then go on to become
the CEO of a much bigger client, well, I am
just saying this is the kind of thing that happens
in life. As Juliette in My Fable, Juliette's School of

(02:17):
Possibilities says, expectations are infinite. Time it's finite. We are
always choosing choose well. Part of choosing well is intentionally
deciding when to do work that is good enough and
when to set out to do work that is spectacular.

(02:40):
There are all kinds of situations that call for good enough.
For instance, if you are sending a mutual introduction email
to two people in your network, and you've already told
each of them about the other You don't need to
include their life stories and praise in the email itself.
Just say how delighted you are to introduce two great people,
both interested in whatever it is they are both interested in.

(03:03):
A two sentence email will be just as good as
a three paragraph email that takes twenty minutes to write.
So go with the nine version. If you proof fre
to report last night and again this morning, it's time
to give it to your boss to review. Don't keep
proof reading beyond the point that proof reading yields real benefits. Now,

(03:26):
there are plenty of situations where the extra effort will
be rewarded. You may spend hours or even days prepping
a pitch for a really big potential client, or rehearsing
your toast for your brother's wedding. I rehearsed my ted
talk about two dozen times because I knew that doing
a good job could lead to a lot of future
speaking engagements. But when the outcome won't be much different

(03:49):
if you do a lot or a little, simply do
enough to get the outcome you want. You don't have
to leave everything on the field for every task. Remember
the Parado principle that eighty percent of the results come
from twenty percent of the causes. Now, we never know
for absolute sure which twenty percent of stuff that will be,

(04:12):
but you know what, we can make a reasonable guess.
So do a good job unless you have made a
choice that you should do your absolute best. When you
do this, you will have the energy to do great
things in the meantime. This is Laura, Thanks for listening,

(04:32):
and here's to succeeding in the New Corner Office. The
New Corner Office is a production of I Heart Radio.
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