For this post, I’m channeling my inner Seth Godin to share with you a question I’ve been exploring lately — Is it time to redefine what’s acceptable in your life?
Let me explain. I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately in different capacities. In January, I signed up for a half-marathon in May. I’ve always loved working out, and even though I’ve never really been a big runner, I wanted a new challenge. (Plus, I convinced my younger sister to sign up with me so I have to train; I can’t risk her beating me!) Before sending in my deposit, I may have run four miles at most. However, just two months later, I’m on a strict training plan that’s helping me train to hit that 13.1-mile mark. Whereas I would have considered a four mile run acceptable (and even successful) eight weeks ago, I am now disappointed with anything less than seven or eight miles.
As you change, grow, and develop, that level of “acceptability” changes. However, as a professional and a leader, you must know when it’s time to redefine “acceptable.” Here are just a few examples…
- PRSA redefining “public relations.” Although their definition was acceptable before, it was no longer acceptable in the digital, evolving world of public relations.
- President Obama and his refusal to accept public funds to run his 2008 campaign. At the time, this was revolutionary. A president who runs solely on private donations (and small ones at that)? Impossible — but he did it. And, what was once acceptable in the political campaigning world is now being questioned after the president’s bold move.
- Golin Harris creating a new, generally unprecedented organizational structure. They say “Communications is changing. So are we.” Their g4 model organizes employees into strategists, creators, connectors, and catalysts. Gone are the constraints of traditional agency hierarchies — account coordinators, associates, executives, senior executives, managers, and so many more. What was once organizationally acceptable is no longer the standard for this global PR firm.
Maybe it’s technology that’s prompting change. Maybe it’s a new standard. Maybe it’s a generational shift in your pool of employees. Maybe it’s competition. Maybe it’s time.
Ten years ago, MPG didn’t matter much because it cost about $1.50 to fill up your tank. Now, with prices ready to hit $4 per gallon, it matters a lot, so car companies must figure out ways to increase fuel efficiency or they cease to exist. Three years ago, it didn’t matter much if you had a mobile version of your website. Now, with 44% of Americans owning a smartphone, it matters — a lot. Two years ago, it wasn’t essential that your organization was on Twitter. Now, as the average number of tweets skyrocketed from 50 million to 140 million per day in the past year alone, it matters a lot.
Whatever it is, it’s time to ask yourself: Do I need to raise the bar? In what areas of my life, both personally and professionally, do I need to redefine “acceptable?”