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Meet Mr. Mediocrity

During our college summer job of selling books door-to-door, Jen and I had the privilege to meet Dan Moore. During the one week training in sales school each summer before we went to our assigned territory, Dan Moore would come on stage and inspire, entertain, and motivate thousands of college students on how to withstand the inner turmoil we would face during the long and challenging summer. His speech centered around the main character - Mr. Mediocrity.

Mr. Mediocrity has a little body and a big mouth that sits on your shoulder all day every day. He is that nagging voice that loves to point out the negatives and remind us of our failures. Mr. Mediocrity is the voice that says "I'll do it tomorrow" or "I've already had a good week in sales, let me just take the rest of the week off" or "I deserve it" or “It’s too cold or hot outside, I’ll go to the gym another day”. We all know the voice all to well unfortunately, yet so many of us are unaware of the impact he has on our lives. Dan taught us how to use positive self talk (out loud) to override the negativity of Mr. Mediocrity. It was such a vivid and entertaining speech that was so memorable and helpful to Jen and I and thousands of other book sellers over the past 5 decades.

In addition to his Mr. Mediocrity speech each summer, Dan hosted the Presidents Club dinner for all of the top sellers from the previous summer. Dan (with no notes) would rattle off a biography of each of the dozens of winners along with a personal note or connection he had with each person. He really understands how to make people feel special and appreciated.

Last weekend, Jen and I got to reconnect with Dan Moore and his wife when they attended a tailgate party for the Jaguar/Titan game. Even upon seeing Jen, he said 'formerly Jen Manguson' and rattled off more information about her to his wife. Jen's eyes welled with tears and said, 'How did you remember all of that after all of these years?' And Dan said (almost dumb-founded), 'How would I have forgotten it?' After 49 years with the Southwestern Company (his only career job after graduating Harvard at the age of 16), Dan retired and is touring the world promoting his book "Control, Influence, Accept (for now)". The 'for now' is really his trademarked piece to the book, and he explains how he led the 150 year old Southwestern Company as their President during the pandemic. You can only imagine trying to run a company of 2,000 college students selling books door to door during a time when the world is on lock-down, and he was determined not to be the first person in the century and a half old company to go a summer without offering the internship.

In closing, I encourage all of us this week to have an awareness of Mr. Mediocrity and intentionally ignore and override any of his negativity and doubt this week. Have a great week!

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