The Quest to Get Better

My friend, Brian Johnson, just posted on an awesome topic…Getting Better vs Being Good. Entrepreneurship is not only tough — it is non-linear and success often opaque. Also, short video link below of Carol Dweck's Mindset work…definitely worth everyone learning more about this. The key to managing this reality is:

1) to know your Northern Star (what you want to achieve, the change you want in the world)

2) but to focus each day at becoming better and better at how you deliver "unexpected joy" (thanks Desiree & Ethan at GiveForward for the phrase). This includes every customer touch point, delivering increasing value, innovating more quickly, improving stability, etc. Success comes from the daily little victories and improvements (even when you are dispairing) versus heroic swings of the bat.

If you simply focus on the "waiting" for the end game, you will become miserable and demoralized as the Entrepreneur's Journey is an unjulating one. As Brian says, "Be the Highest version of yourself at any given point in time…What would your highest version do?":

“My favorite piece of advice by far for dealing with difficulty is to make sure you think about your goal in terms of getting better, rather than being good. As you’ll recall from Chapter 3, when we are focused on personal growth and development, on making progress rather than on proving ourselves, we deal with difficulty far more gracefully. We tend to see setbacks as informative, rather than as signs of personal failure. We don’t worry as much about the likelihood of success because we know that even if we never do it perfectly, we will certainly improve. (And getting better is, after all, the goal.)” ~ Heidi Grant Halvorson from Succeed

Getting better vs. being good.

Those are two different orientations we can have in life and in goal setting. They roughly map over Carol Dweck’s “growth vs. fixed” mindsets. 

The basic idea: When we approach life with a “being good” mindset, we’re constantly trying to prove ourselves. We’re paranoid that any blunder we make might be the evidence that shows the world how messed up we are. So, we avoid taking action and freak out when we inevitably DO mess up. Eek.

On the other hand, when we approach life with a “getting better” mindset, we KNOW we’re not perfect, we’re not trying to prove ourselves, and we embrace challenges as they provide the path to growth—which, rather than looking good, is our primary goal. Setbacks are simply data points for us, not signals we’re unalterably flawed.

How do YOU tend to show up? Check in on that.

And know this: “If you focus on growth instead of validation, on making progress instead of proving yourself, you are less likely to get depressed because you won’t see setbacks and failures as reflecting your own self-worth. And you are less likely to stay depressed, because feeling bad makes you want to work harder and keep striving. You get up off the couch, dust off the potato chip crumbs, and get busy getting better.”


Here’s to focusing on getting better rather than being good!