Do We Really Need Everyone to be “Remarkable?”

You want to know the exact equation that will guarantee your kids will spend more on therapy bills then a college education? Expect them to be “remarkable.”  I’m learning this right now.

I have a 14 year-old son. He’s remarkable – at least I think so. He’s a baseball player and by saying that I know I’m labeling him because he also loves basketball, and golf, and Call of Duty on Xbox, and his girlfriend, and his best friend, and his little youngest brother, and, dare I say, math (which he’ll deny! – love might be a bit strong).

But he plays baseball like he was born to do it; he feels at home on the diamond. That doesn’t mean he’s the best, it just means that’s where he prefers to be: thick leather glove on his hand, fresh mowed grass, sun burning down on the back of his neck, salty sunflower seeds stuck in his cheek. It completes him.

Those who know 14 year-old boys and baseball also know that baseball is a game that has more failure than success, by far. Expecting one to be remarkable, to be error-free, is expecting the impossible.

Everyone is trying to be remarkable

But I’m a Dad; I expect the impossible, and I expect “remarkable.” Parenting is funny that way; you have to have high expectations because it’s really the only way you ensure yourself for kids to reach higher. But trying to determine what that limit is, is, next to impossible. How high is too high?

We live in a society where everyone is trying to be remarkable. Somewhere along the way, it stopped being ok, to just be ok. To be good, but not great. To be a part of a team, but not be the star.

We have gotten ourselves into a cycle that is very difficult to manage. How do you manage a team of people where each one is attempting to be remarkable – when you don’t need them to be remarkable? I need my Accounts Payables to go out each Thursday before noon. That isn’t remarkable, it just is the job that needs to be done.

How do you manage a person trying to be remarkable?

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So, how do you manage the person doing that task who is trying to be remarkable? Look, getting them out by Wednesday at noon isn’t remarkable, it just shows me that we can now move up the schedule another day. I’m fine with Thursday.

I’m scared for a future where everyone feels the need to be remarkable in everything they do. I don’t need remarkable, I don’t expect remarkable. I think remarkable happens when a team of good (and not an individual) gets together and works together to make remarkable things happen.

So, I tell my son – I don’t need a hit every time your up to bat. I don’t need you to strike every kid out. I don’t need you to make every play. I need you to help your teammates, to help make them better, to try and give them what you can deliver at that moment. Give me nine kids all attempting to do their best, and that will look pretty remarkable!

(Now can someone come sit next to me at games and remind me of this – each pitch!)

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


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