Yesterday, I read a tweet from a guy I recently started following on Twitter. I’d rather not name names, but for the sake of some background, this gentleman is involved in Toronto’s startup community. Here’s the tweet:
No project should be considered a success with a pathetic success criteria of: finished on-time & on-budget. #ZeroEngagement #OldSchool
All bravado aside, I understand the sentiment. “One time and on budget” is simply the way to mediocrity. The less kind part of me simply dismissed this tweet as Type-A hubris. And again, I get it. In business these days, “standard” just isn’t good enough. It was “just a tweet”, but doesn’t it just build higher the pile of impossible standards that we set for ourselves?
In every corner, every time we turn around, we’re told we’re not doing enough, not reaching far enough, not getting enough done. It seems that the new “societal insecurity” is about not doing enough, or, perhaps more directly, not doing more of what we love. Is your company as successful as Facebook? Well, thanks for coming out. You’re not pursuing your passion? Sorry kid, time to go home.
This post by Kevin Fanning likely says all this better than I can:
I was having dinner with Mary-Kim the other night and we talked a lot about how much more successful as writers we would feel if we didn’t give a shit about our families and lives. I might have gotten farther faster as a writer if that’s all I ever did or thought about, but like, so what? Is that a good model for how a person should live their life?
Is it just me and my aging brain, or are we putting WAY more pressure on each other these days? And if so, how can that be a good thing? How about forgiving ourselves? How about doing the best we can day-in-day out? Simply delivering “on time and on budget” might not be good enough in some cases, but for some it’s a major victory.