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When “Not Your Best” Is Good Enough

by Leslie Ungar

A client recently spoke at her own event. As anyone knows that has hosted an event, any event is kind of like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It takes what either is or feels like a year’s worth of planning for an event to go off with few hitches.

So to go through the time and expense of putting on an event you want it to go well: especially if you are the speaker at your own event. You want to shine when you have created the spotlight on you.

The morning after this event my client texted me. She felt she had not been “on top of her game”.

If you look at this through one perspective, you could say that a lot of time and money was wasted. That is not the perspective I would look at this through.

This client has spent five years working on her communication skills. Not the exact same skills in that time, she has improved a variety of skills. In this past summer alone she has been interviewed on a national TV show, spoke at an industry conference in Las Vegas, and was selected to be featured with a congressperson not even in her own district.

I agree that she was not at the top of her game. But here is the thing to remember. Winners win when they are not at the top of their game. All NFL players are superb athletes. Some are better than others but they are all in an elite club. The elite athletes win even when they are not on top of their game. Any NFL quarterback can win when everything is going their way. The challenge is to win when everything is not going your way.

She was not at the top of her game. She knew it and I knew it. But she was good enough to educate and entertain while modeling stellar skills to anyone in the audience. Because she had raised her level of performance, even a sub performance was better than most people would have done at the podium.

So what is the lesson to be learned? It is your job to be prepared. It is your job to make sure that every skill in your toolkit is as powerful as possible. Because you can’t be stellar every day. Your job is not to be perfect or even on top of your game every day. Your job is to raise your skills so that even your mediocre is exceptional. Your goal is for “not your best” to be good enough.

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