Recently I worked as a motivational speaker for a group that writes insurance for truckers. One of the things I love about my job is that I get to learn about these groups that I didn’t even know existed; groups that are doing amazing things. I get to drop in and learn about the industry and people, then I am on to the next group.
I had an interesting conversation with my client while working with this group. They basically said, “Don’t suck.” Instead of, “Brad…I’m expecting awesomeness!” it was just, “Don’t embarrass me, don’t be terrible”. I get it, when these groups hire me, they have a lot at stake. I understand the nuance, but it’s fascinating that our first goal is mediocrity.
My meeting planners are under intense pressure. They don’t want me to make them look bad in front of their internal clients, their bosses and their peers. So wanting to meet this minimum requirement does make sense in many ways. But it still feels odd to be setting our goal as “Good enough to get by,” instead of, “Fantastic and amazing.”
The fact that my clients in the meeting and convention industry have to go for safe and just good enough is absolutely understandable. But it is also a little bit sad. How does this happen that we are not striving for awesomeness? Why is this normal?
Let’s look at this in the context of shopping for new clothes. We’d never walk into a department store and say, “ I’d like some pants that fit just normal, pants that won’t embarrass me. Pants that are good enough.” That is just crazy. If you’re looking for clothing that fits perfectly, makes you look like a million bucks and is nicer than even you hoped, why accept a professional motivational speaker who is simply mediocre?