Anyone Can Be Great, Can You Be Good?

I’ve always loved stand-up comedy. Not so much the on stage presence of the comedian, but I love the prep that goes in to a solid 60-minute routine of just killer material.

I just finished Steve Martin’s terrific book, Born Standing Up. I’m too young to have appreciated Martin’s career, but the book delves in to the process of writing great jokes that still “stand-up” (if you like that, you should see my five minutes) today.

It took Steve Martin 12-years to get to Saturday Night Live. Thousands of shit-shows over a 12-year period at two-bit clubs to become just a little bit famous. It would be another five-years before he was an overnight success.

There are a ton of great quotes in the book about preparation and success, but the one that I loved was ‘anyone can be great, can you be good?’.

Everyone has those great meetings where everyone nods their heads and agrees. Everyone gets back to the office and says something like ‘it was such a great call’.

Maybe it closes, maybe it doesn’t, but everyone is really excited about how ‘GREAT’ it was.

The problem with great is that great doesn’t happen often. Greatness isn’t reliable. It certainly doesn’t happen every single day. It can’t because at some point, great would just become good.

Steph Curry is the best player in the NBA this decade. The difference between him and most players is that his good is their great.

Jordan Spieth has mostly good rounds. In fact, his #10 scoring average rank shows this, but is good is other players great.

Steve Martin, one of the most famous comedians of all time, had mostly good nights. Over time, his good turned in to great.

If you’re in sales, it is way better to be good consistently than great once in a while.

Good is a discipline.

Good is the unseen free-throws after everyone leaves. It is the 3-foot putts after dark.

Good is consistently reaching out to your customers and providing value.

Good is sticking to a process and not winging everything.

Good is knowing what comes next.

Good is knowing that the little details make big differences.

Good is giving that presentation for the 100th time, but treating with the enthusiasm of the first time and adjusting it for that instance.

Good is keeping a notebook of talking points and reviewing it before each meeting.

Good is listening more and talking less.

If you look at your peers, I bet most of them aren’t good. Be consistent and after a while, your good will become their great.

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