Dear Members and Constituents,
What do you fear? Is it unemployment, rejection, spiders or the dark? Perhaps you have a fear of heights, death or outhouses… As I look back on my formative years, my biggest fear was that of obscurity or, worse, mediocrity (with vampires a close second – I was an adult before I stopped wrapping my sheets around my neck to prevent midnight bites). Back then, I fancied myself becoming a renaissance man; a Leonardo DaVinci for our times. That dream has drifted over time, going from renaissance man to successful entrepreneur, to corporate executive, to… mmm… (hopefully not an acronym for Mediocre Middle Manager).
To be clear, the mediocrity I feared was synonymous with “ordinary” or “average” –not “inferior” or “poor”. On my report card, I figured “B” stood for “blemish” (which, by extension, meant “C” was for “cringe” and “D” a “disaster”). The problem is, of course, that the odds are stacked against you. Even if you’re one-in-a-million, there are six thousand people like you on this planet. Hardly noteworthy. Disappointment is the likely outcome when you combine high expectations with reliance on external sources for validation. Being passed-up for the “emerging leaders” program or getting a “meets expectations” on your performance review could become serious irritants.
When you stop to think about it, comparisons between people are futile. There are too many dimensions to account for and too many opportunities for bias (which leaves too much room for error). At the risk of sounding like a cliché used as cop-out to justify commonplace shortcomings, I’m coming to believe the only meaningful measure of a man (or woman) is against himself (or herself, as the case may be). Most folks are too preoccupied looking in the mirror to notice you and your unique talents and accomplishments. That’s why I’m determined to be the best JP I can be (whether or not anyone notices or remembers me when I’m dead).
Another fear I’ve developed in recent years is the fear 8:00 AM on Friday morning will arrive without donuts. Fortunately, this fear has not materialized today, thanks to Kim Hipple (donut girl). She delights us with five dozen extraordinary LaMar’s donuts, ready to fuel an exceptional day. Don’t be afraid, grab one and live this day to its fullest potential!