The truth is, mediocrity is just a word created by the mind and the machine to keep you hustling. The impossible trap of reaching one’s potential has been passed down for generations. It was hugely motivational for me in my twenties. I would have elbowed you in the throat if you tried to slow me down from reaching my potential. Granted, I had no idea what my potential was or how to get there but reaching it was all that mattered. I was hell bent on making my mark on this world, and leaving it better than when I found it.
Human egos endeavoring to do something great and have statues built to themselves is nothing new. We love to push the boundaries of what is possible and see what these bodies and minds can do. In and of itself, this is beautiful. Consider the ego is a gorgeous and wild stallion inside of you, here to help you create whatever experience you want. Once we do enough yoga, meditation, therapy, or get lucky, we wake up out of the idea that we are the ego and realize we have one. It is here for us to use, not the other way around. Once we shift the power dynamic inside we can begin to play.
The suffering and nonsense comes in when we identify with the ego and said accomplishments and judge ourselves as not enough. The Oz of the Land of Potential is a trap.
You are reaching your potential right now in this moment. And this one. What do you want right now? Focus, reign that wild ego in, and ask yourself, what is your next inspired, small step? Do that. And repeat.
The longing to be “special” is a human, and perhaps, especially millennial affliction. We can never quite live up to the “special” we consider ourselves to be. I just listened to Simon Sinek’s pontificate about the formation of the millennial milieu based on “flawed” parenting fostering entitlement, a quest for purpose, and a dearth of work ethic. He is paid, in part, to explain to corporations why millennials hate working for them. In my experience, millennials hate working for corporations because they lack soul and any spiritual awareness. Thank God we are entitled enough to demand more from this life. What a gift that is to celebrate!
The trick is, when we strike out on our own, to heal the misunderstanding that our value comes from our work. Our value is inherent and consistent regardless of anything external. Once we own this, we can create places of work that encourage us to discover our full humanness and feel the visceral experience of being alive. We are emotional creatures and we no longer compartmentalize between work and personal. It’s all personal.
Now, let’s make work that feels like play. The first step is to embrace the ego’s greatest fear of being mediocre. Try it. Right now. BE MEDIOCRE. Let it burn. Breathe into the pit of fire in your chest that screams, “Nooooooo!!!” Keep breathing until it gets tired and quits. Like every other fear, face this one head on, and it will disappear.
Bristol Baughan is an Executive Producer of Emmy-winning and Oscar-Nominated films, author, and private coach. She is a TED Fellow and Founder of Inner Astronauts, a custom experience and private coaching company supporting people in coming more fully alive in service to the world. Bristol holds a B.A. in International Studies from the American University School of International Service and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.