Challenge yourself to be the small fish

challenge yourself to be the smallest fish
Challenge yourself to be the smallest fish

If you think this post is about not standing out; guess again. I promised myself in 2017 that I would not fall trap to the same pitfalls (and people) of 2016. Here’s a piece of golden advice taken from a TEDtalk that inspired me:

“If you’re the smartest person in the room; you need to change rooms.”

The theory is that being an underachiever in a great group means staying there will produce greatness in you. If you are an overachiever in a group of mediocre people, than there is no growth there. There is only practice there, not actual new level growth. There is nothing wrong with being the smartest person in the room (technically), but what’s the motivation to stay in the room if you’ve had enough practice. That creates complacency and stagnation. Know when to go. Are you in a practice season or a growth season?

Practice is good; meaning it’s not time to leave where you are currently. Growth season means your only the best because there is no competition – you’ve outgrown (or matured out of) your environment. Competition and new challenges allows you to expand. How can you expand in a small pond? The small pond is practice, but the larger goal is the bigger pond.

Do not get stuck being great in a small place.

And when you make your exit, get ready for naysayers. People will drag you back with guilt over leaving. Believe me, people will. They will challenge your growth and question your decisions with no other motive than to keep you in a small pond with them. Do not get stuck (worth saying again). Leave the small pond and find a place where you can be challenged to be the best you. After all, isn’t that the point?

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