Norton: Good, better and best options and outcomes; which are you choosing? (column)
Whenever I go into an ice cream shop — notice I didn’t say “if” I go into an ice cream shop; it’s “when” I go into an ice cream shop because anyone who knows me knows it is only a matter of “when” and not “if.”
Anyway, whenever I go into an ice cream shop, I am evaluating my options. Good would be a single scoop cone or cup, a better option would be a double scoop waffle cone, and the best option would be a banana split. And sometimes, if I am watching my calories and sugar, then I find that although I think the best approach or option is a banana split, it really is a small cone or cup.
In almost every situation or opportunity that we face, we can probably come up with several game plans or strategies to accomplish the task at hand.
We can also agree that in most cases there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. The wrong way is usually quickly found out, and we just hope that we find it out before we have gone too far and we are forced to start all over. And the right way could also include a good, better and best approach, as we consider our options before moving forward.
I like the good, better, best thought process and approach. It makes me think about my time and resources that are available and what my real desired outcome is for a particular project or initiative. It also forces me, in most cases, to clearly see that I just don’t want a good outcome or a better outcome; I want the very best outcome. It keeps me from settling for something less than what I wanted.
Now, in some instances, accepting a good approach is the very best approach we can take. There may be a project that needs to be completed and knowing that we are striving for as good of an outcome as we can get at that time means that we follow the strategy and approach that will lead us to that good outcome.
Did we want something better? Yes. Did we want the very best outcome? Absolutely. But sometimes we have to take advantage of what the world or the situation or timing is offering and accept that a good outcome is better than a bad outcome, and sometimes it is the best outcome for that moment.
Here’s another example. Let’s say I had intended on getting my full workout in, but unfortunately, another urgent and important commitment came up last minute. Instead of having 60 minutes in the gym, my time would only be 20 minutes. Not the best outcome I had planned for, but a good option that would give me 20 minutes of intense cardio rather than no workout at all.
For me, a good approach is 30 minutes in the gym, a better approach is 45 minutes, and the best approach is 60 minutes. A bad approach is zero minutes. So in this case, the good option of 20 minutes was indeed the best option.
One of the areas where I highly encourage people to follow a good, better, best approach is in our relationships.
When we think about the good things we can do for someone we love, can we stop and think about what it is we could do better? And when we are doing things better already, could we stop and think about what we could do that would be the absolute best?
Our relationships and our loved ones are so very important, and if we only ever settle for doing the good things, then we are short changing those we love the most by not giving them our absolute best. And if we would just hit the pause button long enough to ask ourselves if we are doing good, better or best, we will probably see the best option more clearly and can then do our very best for those we love so much.
So how about you? What does your good, better, best approach look like? Does settling for the good when you know you could do better bother you or inspire you? I would love to hear your story at me email, email@example.com, and when we know what our good, better and best options and outcomes look like, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.