My son likes to wake up early to ease into the day. The only problem I have with his easing is that I’m the one who has to get up first, get out of bed, and get him moving.
Initially, he decided he’d watch TV while I fetched breakfast. Bet you can guess how long that lasted.
Now it’s Winter, and we put on our heater, huddle together under cozy blankets, and talk about the day ahead. We also play a few rounds of Google’s Quick, Draw! on my phone.
You have 20 seconds to draw an image and Google uses its’ vast database and artificial intelligence to guess what you’re doodling. At the end of the round, you see what you got right, wrong, what Google thought you were drawing, and most interesting, get to see others’ “correct” doodles.
Usually, when it’s my turn, I’ll look at what I got wrong – or should I say Google couldn’t figure out. Some of my doodles seem darn good to me yet don’t pass the AI test.
In an effort to get it right next time, I’ll often look to see how others in their database drew a monkey, or a pig or scorpion. I should add that the majority of the time, I still get it wrong the next opportunity I have a chance to draw the same image. A quick glance at how others did it doesn’t often improve my skill under pressure.
This morning, I noticed my son wasn’t only looking at the ones that Google couldn’t figure out, but also what he got right.
Always the helpful Mom I asked, “You got that one correct. Why are you looking at what other people did? Who cares?”
“So I can get better,” he said without missing a beat.
[Hello, virtual ton of bricks hitting me on the head.]
I looked to improve on my weaknesses; he sought to improve on his strengths.
Yes, this is a silly doodle game, and getting better at it doesn’t make my life or his life better, but our in-game behaviors translate to other areas.
What’s Your Success Attitude?
Good Enough is Good Enough
These are the same people who say, “Well, it worked last time so…” There’s no need to improve because getting by is working for them.
Gap Fillers often have an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. However, they spend exponentially more time closing their gaps than using their strengths.
Double Downers go all-in on their strengths. They accept that they have deficits and do make efforts to understand them and improve, yet that’s not where they put most of their energy.
Who do you think has the most success in the long run? The person who is always trying to strengthen their deficits, the one who’s happy as long as things are working, or the one who dives deep into their strengths and makes them even stronger?
I think we can all agree on the answer.
At work, we forget that not everyone needs to be all all-around player. As leaders, so much of our developmental feedback for our team members is focused on gaps that we make up. “You’d be more valuable in the long run if only you could do this, this and that too.”
In my opinion, we don’t need teams where everyone is fantastic at everything. We do need teams of people who complement each other. Different strengths help the entire team rise and achieve shared goals with everyone making a critical individual contribution.
Should you work to stretch yourself? Yes! Does stretch only mean closing gaps, expanding into new areas, and fixing weaknesses? Nope. You can and should stretch your strengths too. Push your limits to see how much further you can go.
In my personal and professional life, I never thought I was someone who accepted good enough as I do in the Quick, Draw! game, but it’s often our experiences in one part of our life that is most telling about another. Over the years, I’ve fallen into a pattern where I don’t push myself as much, and that’s got to stop.
Back on the sofa with my son, before the sun is up for the day, I watch him. I see him learning and processing and being someone who I not only wow and teach with all of my wisdom and knowledge, but who also shows me what it means to get better, be better, and strive to be my best.
Grab your phone or tablet and play a round or two of Quick, Draw! What’s your instinct? Take a look at your default in-game success attitude. Do you look at what you missed, got correct, or happy when your crappy doodles are good enough and move on?
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