November 5, 2020
One thing I’m fairly clear on is that I am not for everybody. For example, an aspect that is underneath a lot of what I write, but I’ll say explicitly here, is that I am not interested in mediocrity or average.
That is just not in my DNA.
If you are reading and resonating with these newsletters, then I’m going to guess that you probably aren’t either. You are not interested in doing the minimum amount and checking the least number of boxes to get by. You are not drawn by the path of least resistance. Even though you can look around at a system that seemingly rewards mediocrity from White men (and sometimes White women), while simultaneously demanding superhuman excellence from nearly everyone else, that doesn’t mean that you are actually interested in being mediocre.
The question that drives me is how we can be excellent while preserving the very fire and energy that fuels that desire for excellence.
In November, I usually get reflective. By December, I’m in full withdrawal mode. I invite you to do the same.
Let’s start with two truths and a lie.
TRUTH: You cannot hold the mantle up all by yourself. Yes, I am also allergic to group work because I often ended up doing all the work myself, however – those experiences can bend us too far in the other direction. You can continue to do your work to the degree that you like with the quality and rigor you demand. And, to persevere, you must have connection with like-minded folks. And by like-minded, I mean those who are in this tribe: the tribe of being fully committed to excellence AND uninterested in the academic narrative of suffering and sacrifice. Stop seeking support, validation, and community from folks who either don’t dream as big as you do or who have submitted to limiting institutional beliefs in order to belong. Uplevel your #squad.
TRUTH: Choose your challenge, instead of picking your battles. Picking your battles is reactionary. It’s when you see what comes your way and then decide whether to fight or to let it pass. It is a great way to stay distracted. Choosing your challenge is coming from a higher perspective. Instead of picking your battles, recognize that because you want to be excellent, and because you want to make an indelible impact, and because you are not here for mediocrity, you have chosen challenge. And the challenge you are interested in is how to create the career that you want so that you can make the impact you want to have, in a sustainable and nourishing way. That’s the challenge. Leave the battles for everyone else.
LIE: There is a well-worn path to success, you just have to find it. This is a lie. Stop looking for a roadmap, you are not going to find one. Furthermore, the longer you keep seeking out and trying on roadmaps that don’t work for you, the more you will begin to believe that the reason you can’t find one is because what you want to do is not possible. Eventually, you will believe that you don’t have what it takes. A serious consequence of a powerful lie. The truth is that you design your future. You build your roadmap, step by step. You sit down and choose your challenges. Choose your squad. Get clear on your direction. Understand your criteria for making decisions. Commit to a practice of honing your self-leadership skills. Commit to the development of your productivity abilities. Double down on your strengths and strategize to get the resources to support your weaknesses. You take responsibility for your career.
So, go on ahead. Your future is waiting on you.
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
And by this, I mean, essentially everything.
Love y’all. Hold each other carefully.