“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27.17
At the beginning of his highly acclaimed best seller, Good To Great, Jim Collins proclaims good to be the enemy of great. So, what do you think he means by that statement? One answer might be that good – taken to mean good enough – often times settles in as a form of complacency, thus holding us back from reaching our full potential.
Once upon a time I envisioned achievement as being something of a destination, to reach a certain level of accomplishment in some lucrative field such as law, medicine, or finance, then kicking into maintenance mode and reaping the rewards of success. It was an idea similar to winning the lottery then living on easy street. One day, though, I realized I had reached the destination I had envisioned for myself and had in fact kicked into maintenance mode. It was not what I thought it would be. Something was wrong. Easy street had become a dead-end street. Good [enough], I discovered, was my enemy not my friend.
My own encounter with the enemy “good” was what eventually introduced me to the profession of coaching, first to be coached myself then to coach others. It opened my eyes to the great potential that exists among bright, well-educated high achievers in today’s marketplace who in my opinion represent one of the world’s greatest under-developed resources. The potential lies in transforming proven successful people and their endeavors from good to great rather than settling into maintenance mode as I had begun to do.
Coaching is not about teaching or offering advice. Instead, it is about exploring possibilities together with a fellow human being, or as the Proverb teaches, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The thrill occurs when new potential is discovered and begins to develop, which always inspires a little more development of my own potential.
We all have the potential to become more than we are, to reach new destinations. And beyond each of those destinations are still more frontiers to explore. The only thing that stands in our way is when we settle for “good”, allowing it to become our enemy.