You are letting yourself off the hook by settling for something, or someone, that is less than ideal. What have you settled for and how can you know?

What have you settled for recently? Tell me the truth now, because we all do it.

Did you settle for a different brand of shampoo because it was on sale last week? Did you settle on the lower package the last time you bought a car? Did you settle on your job? Your partner?  Your dreams? (Ouch.) I think it’s totally acceptable — and absolutely normal — to settle for some of the little things in life, like the shampoo, or fewer features on your car.  You might even settle for a spouse who is amazing except for the fact that he can’t cook, or she doesn’t love the same movies you do. Those are not going to make or break anything. (My family has yet to perish as the result of my cooking.) But what happens when you start settling on the big stuff, the stuff that really does matter?

Why do we settle?

Back when I was an administrator, I had a nurse that was a decent enough clinical nurse, but who, personally, just set me and everyone else around her on edge. I would know she was working before I even saw her because I could just feel her negativity in the air. The stress on the people around her was palpable. Interestingly, she would be defined by most as a “good nurse”. You know that statement that goes something like, “She’s a good nurse; she just doesn’t treat the staff very well.” When she finally left, by invitation (not delivered on a silver platter), it was as if all the poison had disappeared. I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted, not only off of me, but the whole team. But shortly after, the question I started asking myself was why did I settle for less than the best? Why did I suffer all those months? Why did I let my team suffer? It really wasn’t enough that she was a good clinical nurse if she was making the rest of us miserable. I think the answer can be found in Jim Collin’s words in Good to Great,

“Or we find the whole process of dealing with the issue to be stressful and distasteful. So, to save ourselves stress and discomfort, we wait. And wait. And wait.”

We have this tendency to rationalize our decisions away by saying things like, “She’s a good clinical nurse.”  But in those cases, we’re actually negotiating away our power of choice. mediocrity

The difference between settling and choosing

The main thing I want you to take away from this is that settling is passive.  You are letting yourself off the hook of responsibility or consequences by settling for something, or someone, that is less than ideal. If you’re settling because of outside pressures, fear or stress, you might feel like you had no choice in the matter. But we always have a choice! Choosing is active. It’s intimidating, sure, but it’s also empowering! It puts you in control. Even when we choose poorly or incorrectly, it’s still more satisfying than settling.

What are you settling for?

So, I’ll ask you again: What are you settling for? What are you making excuses for? Who’s the person you are futilely defending? Would you thoughtfully select that person, item, or outcome? Can you honestly say to yourself, “I would choose _____________________ if I had to do it all over again?” If the answer is no, stop passively settling. Remember it’s a choice to settle or to take action. Choose wisely. Denise If you like this article (or even if you don’t) it would be a great honor to have you subscribe to our mailing list HERE