Inspired by two awesome posts – one by Jonathan Fields and one by Seth Godin – I’ve had yet another epiphany.
At its core, it’s this: always be willing to go the extra mile, to do what others might deem ‘unreasonable’, to do the right thing.
Why? Because, my friends, that’s just what you do. Doing what’s right and spending the extra energy to make sure it gets done should be a part of you, something that’s just part of your identity. It should be automatic.
Now – getting to that point isn’t easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult, since you’ll be fighting the temptation to give in and only give what’s deemed “good enough”.
But you have to tell yourself that being “good enough” just isn’t good enough anymore. Being you – a person of power, respect, love, creativity, and integrity – demands more. It demands a higher standard – not perfection, but the willingness to go above and beyond what others expect of you to produce something excellent.
In the Way You Do Anything, You Do Everything
If the world could be changed by thought alone, we’d be moving things with our minds.
Action is the only thing that can produce any sort of lasting change on the world, because it makes your thoughts manifest themselves in reality.
The attitude you have when taking action ultimately determines the quality of whatever you end up doing.
Are you going to accept anything less than your best? If you do at least once, then you’re going to set up a pattern of inconsistency, where sometimes you really shine, and others – you don’t.
This is why they say “In the way you do anything, you do everything.” Excellence is a habit, as Aristotle so astutely pointed out. Consistency is what separates the men from the boys. If you want to be great and not just good, becoming consistently excellent is the price you have to pay – but the rewards are immense.
So, even when you’re feeling your worst, things aren’t going right, or you’re just not motivated to do work, you still have to show up and prove your emotions wrong. You have to prove that, despite the nausea and the cramps, you can still try to do your best work.
It’s all a game, with one rule: if anything holds you back from giving your best effort, you lose.
Will you perform at your best? Probably not. However, if you go into it with the determination and the belief that, no matter how you feel, you are still going to try your best, you will still perform much better than if you had just wallowed in your misery.
The key isn’t to be perfect all the time, or even be perfect at all.
No, what separates the true professionals from the rest of us is that they make the best out of what they have. They’re not excellent every time they work. Sometimes, they’re not even great. Or good. But the key is, whenever they sit down and do anything, they have the attitude to get the most out of whatever they’re doing.
And, even when they’re about to break, they always go one step further. They go beyond everyone else’s expectations to provide something better than just “good”. They make it great with their willingness to put the extra work in, whether that’s taking some personal time out of their day to help a client or putting some finishing touches on their blog post, even when they thought it was ‘done’.
Because, they think, that’s what pros do. So they do it.
And that’s what you can do, too – if you’re willing to make the commitment.
Becoming a professional at living life is scary because there aren’t any more excuses. You can’t throw in the towel on doing work or even having fun for the day just because you woke up with a headache. Now, you’re gonna have to wake up, take some Advil with your morning cup o’ joe, and you’re going to have to face the day and give your all.
Why? When that day comes, you’ll say to yourself, “Well, that’s just what I do.”
1. From now on, no matter what you feel like, show up for your work (and your life) and give all that you have.
2. Smile in satisfaction to yourself when you go to bed each night because you know you made the most of your day, no matter how you felt or what went wrong.