I was thinking today that one of the most important lessons I learned in school was the value of aiming for a B.
I wasn't a great student, and I found school draining. I like doing things rather than being taught things. I found fairly early in high school that I could achieve mostly Bs without trying too hard. I was motivated to do better than a C, perhaps because I've always found being called average highly insulting. And the extra effort it took me to get an A was never really worth it.
I could comprehend the lessons, do a moderate amount of work to prove I had, and end up with a report card that was pretty good.
In life, I've always found that some people don't work hard enough, and when I see the work they feel they've completed, it lacks a depth, a polish, a thoroughness that leaves a lot to be desired. This would be the equivalent of aiming for a C.
And other people go completely overboard, work so hard on things, and gain nothing for all that extra work. Like straining for an A.
Let's take an example of a business case. The goal of a business case is to gain approval for what you're proposing. Assessing what a case needs to contain to gain approval from whomever is doing the approving is the real skill. Too much effort and you're wasting your time, time that could be spent on other priorities; not enough effort and you miss a crucial opportunity to get your case approved, and gain all the direct and ancillary benefits that come along with being someone who can craft winning business cases.
Adjudicating that Goldilocks amount of work is a very good skill to have. In fact, I think it's an essential skill that I hear few people talk about.
So, aim for a B, people.
Except in French, I busted my ass in French and barely passed. Not sure if there's a lesson there, but I wanted to mention it.
William Azaroff lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is Director, Business & Community Development at Vancity, a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its 500,000 member-owners and their communities. William leads a team who work with local businesses, not-for-profits, social enterprises and co-operatives that contribute to a vibrant, sustainable, inclusive local economy, and engage Vancity's members and the public around their Good Money™ brand.