No one ever made it big by being mediocre

fiona-ansan-blog-make-it-bigI made that statement last week, off the cuff, in a blog post – and, of all the things I’ve ever written, that one phrase seemed to evoke the most emotion.

It seems that we all want to achieve at something – perhaps it’s in the work that we do, perhaps it’s by being the best parent we can be, perhaps it’s the singing or acting career we aspire to, or being a superstar on the sports field or perhaps it’s just being the best human we can be. Regardless of what it is, the concept that we can’t achieve that by being ordinary, apparently really struck a chord.

If you look at people who have achieved great things – from Mother Theresa to Bill Gates, none of them did it by being mediocre.

Making brave decisions, going all-out and being game enough to step out of life’s boxes were the things that let them achieve what they did. They didn’t let norms or others’ expectations stop them. They didn’t mind their ps and qs to get things done – they just did them.

It doesn’t matter who you look at – those who have achieved great things all have one driver in common – passion, and one trait they share – guts.

For most entrepreneurs, mediocre scares the you-know-what out of us. Even more than failure. At least if we fail, we gave it a try, we learnt a lot and we, more than likely, went down fighting – but being an also-ran is just an insult. It tells us that we were just plain ordinary.

I look at the people who have inspired me and none of them are mediocre. From my son’s music teacher who makes a huge impact on the students she so passionately mentors into a hard-to-succeed-in industry, to people feeding the homeless who go out morning, noon and night in the heat and the cold to make sure others can eat, to those who inspire me in business by putting themselves out there and exposing themselves daily to the no-so-nice tall poppy haters, each of them is doing something they’re passionate about and doing it in a big way. And not all of them want any acknowledgement for it.

But playing big requires bravery, especially in Australia, where a healthy number of my fellow citizens, unfortunately, seem to take great pleasure belittling those who try to make a mark and/or make a difference.

In the face of that, people playing it big are not more thick skinned than others but they are prepared to run the criticism gauntlet because they simply believe in something bigger.

So here’s the kicker…

If you want to achieve something more, you are going to have to step out of the mediocrity comfort zone. You have to let your passion be your number one driver and ignore the naysayers, critics and those who think you’re just too big for your boots.

Regardless of whether it’s a cause you believe in, an industry you want to change or an empire you want to build, do it with gusto.

With a no-holds barred attitude and a “no fear’ philosophy.

In my humble opinion, if you fear anything at all, fear mediocrity. Do stuff – and do it big. Try big, succeed big or fail big – just don’t be ordinary.


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