There are many mistakes we make related to pushing too far or not pushing enough.  The latter is where we make good the enemy of better.  More precisely, good enough becomes our goal instead of getting better.  That approach can be comfortable.  However, it can also limit our growth professionally and personally.  This episode shares a story where I limited myself regularly shooting for a goal that was good rather than better.  While we can take the “win” and move on, there are more times we should aim higher.

Good The Enemy of Better – Limiting Growth

The idea of perfect as the enemy of good and pushing too hard has been discussed in other episodes.  Those situations have us trying too much for perfection and missing out on the return on investment.  The effort is not always worth the cost and subsequent payoff.  For example, this situation is on one end of the spectrum.  We can aim too low and hit our target perfectly.  However, that has limited use.  At some point, we need to push to improve and grow.  Otherwise, we will start to stagnate and fade.  It is not just a cute saying that when we stop to grow, we begin to die.

The example of this episode provides one of the most common ways I have seen this appear in careers.  We have a hard time arguing strong enough for our skills and worth and end up shooting too low.  A good book on negotiation tactics would be an excellent start in fixing this oversight.  The “Donald Trump” over-the-top approach may annoy people, but it is a valuable way to get the best deal.  When you start by positioning yourself as the best for a job, it makes sense to look for better compensation than average.

The Lesson Learned

In this situation, I learned that I need to be intentional about how I grow my worth and business.  We will not get more unless we ask for more.  That includes that we need to push ourselves and avoid settling for how things have been.  While this episode focuses on compensation, it also is vital for assignments, titles, and responsibilities.  These are all the ways we grow professionally.  Thus, we need to look for ways to ask for more and push ourselves to gain that desired objective.

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

Leave a Reply