Issue 104 - 05 | It's Smart to Suck (Sometimes)

By Jake Breeden
Published April 10, 2013 12:00 p.m.
“Think about work that made you proud. Remember something you produced—a product, a pitch, a proposal—that represents you at your very best? Pride feels good. We want to feel it more, and we’ll work hard to get that good feeling.

Now think about work you did that made you ashamed. Remember something sent off incomplete because you didn’t have time to do it justice? Remember early work you completed before you climbed up the learning curve? How’d that feel? We’re driven to do more of the work that makes us proud and less of the work that makes us ashamed. Usually, that’s smart. Pride pulls us to do things well, and shame pushes us away from doing things poorly. But in certain critical times—especially when it’s time to do something new—these emotions push and pull us in unwise directions.

Sometimes doing your very best is the very worst decision. In fact, sometimes it’s smart to suck.”

About Jake Breeden | Jake Breeden teaches on the faculty of Duke Corporate Education, the world’s top-rated provider of custom executive education. He has taught leaders in some of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Starbucks, Cisco, Microsoft, and IBM. He has an MBA from Duke University and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where his three daughters keep him laughing and learning.

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