Mastering the Art of Mediocrity (in Seven Satisfying Steps)

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You may be asking yourself, “Why would I want to read an article about becoming mediocre?” The word itself has negative connotations, and mastering such a presumably unattractive skill doesn’t seem like a very aspirational goal. A few months ago, I would have completely agreed, but at least give me a chance. I promise there’s a happy ending.

After a particularly rough patch in life a few months ago, I began thinking about why I was feeling so stressed out and honestly depressed. I soon realized after giving it some thought there was virtually no area of my life I could point to and say, “Wow, I’m doing such a good job at [XYZ] . . . .” I felt like a mediocre mom, wife, and employee — not to mention friend and daughter. The next step was to figure out why.

Freedom in Mediocrity

It took a lot of soul searching, but I finally realized I was putting too much pressure on myself. The expectations I had were just too high. I blame it on being a Type A people-pleaser. In my quest to make everyone else happy, I was making myself miserable.

Being a mom means you are constantly juggling things, whether you work outside of the home or manage your household, or both. It’s inherent in our nature to multi-task. It’s also inherent in our nature to put too much pressure on ourselves.

That’s where the concept of mediocrity comes in. I admit, at first, it doesn’t sound very appealing or gratifying, but give me a chance. It’s actually pretty great. Mastery may take a while, but a simple taste of the freedom mediocrity gives will leave you craving more.

Intrigued but not convinced yet? Please read on.

Believe me, this is not something that came easy to me. I’m still struggling with it. But, the realization that I couldn’t actually physically do all of the things I expected of myself was particularly freeing. It was like this 100-pound weight had finally been lifted off of my shoulders.

In society, there’s this evil pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect in all aspects of life. Social media certainly doesn’t help. We’re not supposed to admit weakness or, God forbid, failure. But striving for perfection can lead to constant fear, a feeling of defeat, and ultimately an inferiority complex. Guess what? That’s not healthy.

Determined to make a change, I did some soul searching again and without realizing, I followed the steps below. The outcome has been truly satisfying.

Seven Steps to Mediocrity

  1. Accept that, by the very nature of being human, you are imperfect.
  2. Assess the expectations you have of yourself in all aspects of life (motherhood, career, marriage, household management, family, and friendships).
  3. Be brutally honest with yourself, and figure out what’s realistic and what’s not.
  4. Cut the “fat” out of your life. For example, is there a committee, book club, or some other commitment you are constantly feeling mediocre at? Or even a friendship you struggle to keep up with? Maybe that’s because you either don’t have time for it (see #3) OR that activity or friendship would never bring you happiness, even if you could give it your all.
  5. Learn the word “no.” As moms, we often find ourselves getting talked into things because we’re not good at saying the word “no.” Well, I’m here to tell you . . . “no” is a very freeing word. “No” will free you up to find mastery in the areas of your life you truly care about.
  6. Set new, REALISTIC expectations for yourself.
  7. Assess and reassess often.

Accepting mediocrity doesn’t mean you will always be mediocre at everything. It just means at a time when you may be truly excelling in one area of life, you need to give yourself grace and manage your expectations of how you much you’ll be able to give in other aspects of life. Life ebbs and flows, and so will the areas of life where you accept mediocrity.

If you’ve gotten to the end, then either you think I’m pathetic or maybe I’ve given you something to think about. Hopefully it’s the latter. If not, it means I’ll just have to accept this article was mediocre and hope for a better result for my next post.

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Kelly and her husband, Shawn, are both Fort Worth natives and proud parents to their eight-year-old daughter, Avery, the inspiration behind many of Kelly’s articles. In her time as a mom, Kelly has become an unofficial expert on the NICU, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and global developmental delays. She’s an open book about their experiences and is always happy to talk to other moms looking for guidance or just another mom who gets it. After being in corporate marketing for almost 20 years, craving more flexibility and time with Avery, she founded 314 Marketing Solutions (www.314marketingsolutions.com) in 2019, a full-service boutique marketing agency. She considers herself an expert in multi-tasking and counts her car as the main headquarters for her business, regularly switching being a special needs mom driving to and from multiple therapy appointments, activities, and business owner.

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