Power Tool: Mediocrity vs. Adequacy

The birth of my daughter, our first child, is unequivocally a significance recent and life event.

The challenges:

  • Preparing for her arrival with tireless research on care, products, parenting, pregnancy, and more.
  • Helping my wife cope with the rigor of pregnancy
  • Understanding and accepting the universal accountability of conceiving and raising a human being


  • Delivery of a happy, healthy newborn
  • 99% preparedness and the satisfaction of a (relatively) efficient pre, during and post birthing process
  • The pride and joy of watching her evolve on a daily basis

The perspectives and beliefs present in these circumstances:

  • Parenting experiences from own childhood
  • Reserving the right to entitlement
  • Belief in fact, science and medicine
  • Challenge unsolicited advice
  • Selfless devotion to child’s physical and emotional growth

The neurotic tension, and subsequent frustration of the months leading up to the due date transcended to a sense of calm and acceptance as the birth event drew closer. My perspective shifted as I came to the realization that no matter how prepared we might be, much of the learning would occur in real time.

As our point of view changed so did that of our support system. We noticed increased involvement from family and friends, an admiration for our resilience and an acceptance into a new life stage.

The point of view that limited possibilities and inhibited growth, self-awareness, action, and execution was a sense of mediocrity. The empowering, contrarian perspective enabling creative thought and action was the absent need for perfection, or adequacy.

The perspectives of choice, Mediocrity vs. Adequacy, were a derivative of a sub-set of perspectives.

  • Neurosis vs. Calm: Overwhelmed (frozen) by small tasks to achieve a larger objective. Calm lends a sense of organization and focus to task of any scale.
  • Sloth vs. Effort: Over thought lead to laziness and procrastination. Effort leads to action, fluidity and a productive rhythm.
  • Mediocrity vs. Adequacy: Quest for perfection causes delay and abandonment. Focus on getting it done adequately, and then focus on constant refinement.

The beneficial utility of this shift were reduced anxiety levels through addressing the need for control as with the pre-natal planning. The limiting perspective was reframed when tasks were completed on a reasonable timeline and we began to enjoy the process and truly appreciate the magnitude of efforts that supported the outcome.

  1. Consider a client scenario where the discovery process unearths a pattern of procrastination/abandonment tactics toward situations that require performance.
  2. Further insight reveals an irrational need for perfection, albeit unattainable, creating this dis-embodying belief.
  3. Guide the client through an awareness of this limiting belief by challenging the assumption that everything they touch needs to be perfect.
  4. Create clarity, possibility and learning by explaining the distinction between mediocrity and adequacy and reframing their perspective on this belief.
  5. Define structures and action to move the client toward their desired outcome and support them through the process.


  • What experiences did you recall while reading this power tool?
  • Do these experiences fit the description of either the embodied and dis-embodied beliefs outlined?
  • Describe your sense of self leading up to the moment of a perspective reframe?
  • Do you allow others to influence your belief system?

Pranav Ramanathan


Pranav is an operating executive at Coacharya, a global leadership development firm, and Ellipsis, an award winning video production agency. An entrepreneur with 20-years of experience, he has deep expertise managing brand and product marketing services for companies in the technology, media and non-profit sectors. Pranav is an ICF-accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC).


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