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Beware the NET!
April 16th, 2020

If there is one thing I remember from my childhood it is that Winnie the Pooh never seemed to have enough honey. He was either scraping down a jar, tipping it upside down, sticking his paw into a beehive or getting his head well stuck in the honey jar. He seemed to be in a perpetual state of wanting more. 

Where does a feeling of never enough come from?

Is it the conflict we have between driving ourselves towards something yet not knowing if or when we have arrived? Like the artist with just one more brushstroke, the composer with the extra notes, the writer with a few more words or the speaker with much to say?

If we just stopped a second or more before we actually did, the message might have landed more profoundly. if the expression goes into overtime, it can create noise and distraction rather than the simple poignancy and clarity we had at the start.

Is it the drive that prevails over everything? In other words, is working towards success more important than actually succeeding? Is it the need to be heard, seen or make an impact that overrides our intuitive artist? Is it the creative process that we get lost in? When we become absorbed without a critical eye do we lose touch with the intention? Is it a childhood need to prove, to please, to be someone our parents or siblings felt proud of? We could analyze it over and over, finding different reasons for each of us.

If left unattended, the feeling of ‘never enough’ can become a way of life and a constant trap we default to, like a vacuum or a hole we simply can’t fill; not feeling good enough about ourselves, not having enough, not doing enough. Always wanting more honey! The never enough trap can see us push ourselves and others to the point of disappointment, dissatisfaction and disengagement.

Conversely, never enough can serve us, as it can act as a driver. It can propel us towards a new goal or achievement. We may achieve greater things when we feel as if we have not achieved enough, as long as we use the concept mindfully.

As leaders or high achievers, how does ‘never enough’ impact others working with or for us? Do we project the same approach onto the work or effort of others? Do we push others beyond engagement into deflation because they haven’t delivered enough, haven’t been quick enough, bright enough or proactive enough? Is it reality or is it our bias?

Just because we drive ourselves in a certain way, our leadership obligation is to be self-aware enough to know whether the approach a) serves us or not, and b) impacts others for whom we are role models or have authority over.

As leaders how do we balance our own drive with a sense of achievement? When are we aware of our success? When do we feel pride, ownership, completion or joy at what we have accomplished? When are we in fact self-satisfied? By answering these questions, we are better able to coach others with their sense of achievement, satisfaction and success.