Why good enough isn’t good enough

February 11, 2017

Recently I’ve been bothered by a trend. I call it the trend of ‘good enough.’ You might have different names for it. Some call it settling, others disguise it as ‘we’ve always done it this way’, I’ve even seen awards given in the name of participation – all of these fall into ‘good enough.’

Good enough is the idea that even though something isn’t working to it’s fullest potential, it’s still ‘good enough’ – and it drives me mad. Individuals settling for a mediocre version of themselves instead of striving to get better each and every day. People saying, ‘I wonder if anyone will show up this time? But at least we can say we’ve always done it this way.’ Groups of people coming together and working hard, towards a goal they couldn’t identify if they tried, and then patting each other on the back when they aren’t quite sure if they’ve reached it or not. It’s called being ‘good enough’ and it’s not good enough.

I recently had a conversation with someone in my hometown who has worked with an organization for almost three decades. Unfortunately they are all to accustomed to ‘good enough.’ My heart was literally both breaking and ablaze as they described to me the way things ‘had to be’ and how ‘people would leave’ if changes were made. ‘What about the results?’ I asked. Are you all accomplishing what you feel called to? ‘Not even close, they answered, but people don’t really notice that, they’re happy and so that’s good enough.’

As someone who leads multiple organizations, I cannot tell you the last time I was comfortable with ‘good enough.’ Do I settle for it? More than I’d like to admit – and it’s always met with a heaping spoonful of regret. But I’ve noticed that, if as the leader, I am not willing to be ok with just ok, then those who follow me are more inclined to not be either. If I am leading the ‘we aren’t quite there yet’ train, most people will jump right on board. It’s my job as the leader to let people know theres nothing wrong with trying to figure out what’s wrong – and try to make it better.

I think it’s something that is inside all of us, but some of us have been to quick to let it die. The urge to make things better, to see them succeed to their fullest potential. I believe it was put there, by a God who knows we’ll never be exactly who we were created to be, but that doesn’t mean He’s going to stop trying.

Good enough isn’t good enough, people. Whether it’s in your marriage, as a parent, at your job, or for your church. The one thing you will never run out of is potential, and to see people, families, and organizations just sitting on theirs is something that breaks my heart three ways from sideways. If you or someone you know is trapped in the trend of ‘good enough,’ do me a favor. Figure out what it was that drew you to your spouse, job, or whatever else – what drove you there. Then sit in it for a while. Wiggle way down in there, and get all uncomfortable-like. Then, you may just rediscover the passion you once had – and maybe just maybe – you, like me, will feel like good enough, simply isn’t good enough.

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