What to do when you’re in the Mediocre Middle (4 steps to marketing your way out)

During a recent conversation with my husband James about business and life, this phrase dropped into my mind: Mediocre Middle

What’s the Mediocre Middle?

At my live event, I talk about the Comfortable Minimum (which I’ll write about in a future post).

Mediocre Middle struck me as a place where it’s not comfortable but it’s sustainable with very little effort.

It’s not extraordinary, but ordinary.

It’s vanilla versus wild berry walnut with salted caramel drizzle.

In Latin, mediocris is a compound of the adjective medius, “half” or “in the middle,” and ocris, “rugged mountain.”

Something that is mediocre is only midway up a mountain or rises up to only half a mountain’s height—the thing goes just halfway to the highest point of excellence.

When we don’t have a high level of enthusiasm for what we do, or we lose our enthusiasm for our business, we get stuck at or start sliding down into the Mediocre Middle.

And, my friend, it’s a slippery, slippery slope.

If this is resonating, here’s your 4-step protocol for getting out of the Mediocre Middle.

Step 1: Identify what’s going on in your business that you don’t absolutely love or enjoy

In the spirit of Marie Kondo’s decluttering advice, first, make a list of all the offers and income streams and activities, etc. you do in your business.

For each one, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and delete or delegate it immediately.

For example, if running your online course no longer brings you joy, it’s time to let it go and make space for something that does.

Or if populating your social media platforms with content doesn’t float your boat, delegate it to a capable assistant.

Step 2: Organize and prioritize what remains

What’s left should only be the things you truly enjoy offering, leading or doing.

Organize and prioritize them into your newly-opened space, both physically in your office, on your computer, and on your calendar.

Just a note here: Ideally, there should be no ‘sometimes’ or ‘maybes’ on this list. If your business is in transition from one business model to another, there may be some ‘not yet’ items on your list to let go of, so for those, commit to an exit plan and a date when you plan to be done with them for sure.

Step 3: Realign your marketing message

Now that you’ve pruned your business, it’s time to take a close look at your marketing message and make sure that it still aligns with what you offer to the world and to whom you offer it to.

Part of being in the Mediocre Middle is having a marketing message that’s only ‘half-way up the mountain’.

Make your message more succinct, more impactful and more specific to your market, and then refresh or create a new opt-in to further lift you to the summit.

Step 4: Take a stand and share it often

One of the fastest ways to move from the ordinary to the extraordinary is to take a stand for your message and your market and to speak publicly often about it.

You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops. Even quiet stands can have great impact. The point is to have one.

Ask yourself: What do you believe it? What are your values? What do you know to be true? What would you go to the mat defending? What’s your philosophy as it pertains to your business, your life, even your purpose on this planet?

Once you answer those questions for yourself, start sharing more about your answers with your market.

What will happen is that more of your perfect people will start finding and connecting with you, and your audience will grow much more easily.

Truth-telling time: Are you in the Mediocre Middle?

If you are, what are you willing to do to move out of mediocrity today?

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