I had a great conversation last night and the gentleman told me a story that I found extremely powerful…
As a teacher, he had a student hand in an assignment the day it was due, and ask him, “Is this good enough?” The teacher looked at the student and asked him, “What do you think?”
The student looked bewildered at the teacher and thought he was messing with him. What the teacher had explained is that the work was not for the teacher, but for the student himself. That every single day, he has to try and do his best work to his ability, not to what he thinks the teacher wants, but to the best of his own ability.
The teacher then said to the student, “If I give you 24 more hours to do this, will you give me your best stuff?” The student then looked at the teacher, wondered if he was serious, and took him up on the opportunity. The next day, he showed up and his work improved dramatically, not because he was doing it for the teacher, but he was doing it for himself.
When the teacher became a principal, he told his staff the story about this student and he said, “If we are expect our students to bring their best work to school everyday, shouldn’t we model that ourselves?”
The next time I hear the question, “Is this good enough?”, I guess we have to figure out good enough for whom?