Being good isn’t enough. Well, let’s rephrase that. Take all of the things that you are “good” at and then ask yourself, “Am I giving a world-class effort in [whatever it may be?]”
If you aren’t getting the results you want, chances are that you aren’t giving an effort comparable to somebody who is world-class at something else.
How hard do you think Michael Jordan practiced? Or Stephen King, do you think he writes a couple hours a day and then screws around?
To have a world-class output, you must have a world-class input.
Chances are, you probably don’t give a world-class effort in every area of your life, not to insult you, but we all have moments where we don’t give it 100%. But don’t feel bad, I’m guilty of it too. I’m not pointing any fingers that aren’t pointing back at me.
But, what if you started tackling everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) with this type of attitude?
This is something I want to take a quick second to explore. The idea of tackling everything with the intention of becoming world-class.
I recently listened to a podcast with a very successful venture capitalist and she told a story of her father and his incessant questioning. Apparently, he was absolutely obsessed with the idea of giving your all and becoming world-class at everything in the world. He would constantly ask her, “are you being world-class at [insert infinite number of items here]?”
She said it got to the point where it was becoming annoying (primarily because she was a college student at the time and whose parents don’t annoy them in college???), but then something struck her. She had an opportunity to work with the Dean at her ivy league college and she was literally assigned the task of photocopying and filing papers.
Her dad had reminded her to be “world-class” at her new job just hours before starting and she said, “I’m just photocopying and filing papers, Dad, relax!”
But then, in the midst of her first day, the auto-suggestion of her father started to kick in. She had a thought, one that surprised her. At that moment, she thought:
“What does ‘world-class’ look like when photocopying and filing papers?”
That’s when she determined that it meant doing an absolute perfect job of making sure each paper was photocopied to perfection, that there are no folds in the paper, that it was impossible to tell that the paper was photocopied; in fact, her goal became making the photocopy better than the original!
Then came filing — instead of simply hand-writing the labels, she bought a label-maker and printed labels, all the while creating an elaborate filing system, color-coded and as organized as could be.
She went the extra mile, when she didn’t have to.
This is something that’s fascinating to me.
I’ve always believed that if you can learn to do the little things right (even the littlest of little things), then you have earned the right to do the big things (and do the big things WELL).
Put simply, you have conditioned yourself to do a good job in every task regardless of its seeming importance at the time.
Now surely this lady could’ve gotten by with an adequate performance in this job, but her capacity to think bigger and challenge herself in the menial minefield proved extremely profitable for her when she landed a personal internship with the CEO of Hewlett Packard at the time.
All because she chose to stretch herself to be world-class at something… (he had gotten wind of her work-ethic).
I’ve been thinking about this conversation all week, and it’s a really important mindset to adopt. If you look at every challenge, task, job or interaction as an OPPORTUNITY to become world-class, the benefits, I believe, can be astronomical.
I think it’s also a fascinating reminder on a day-to-day basis — just simply reminding yourself to think — “Am I doing my best? Am I doing this job like somebody who was “world-class” would?”
If you enjoyed this post, chances are you’ll enjoy the other work I’ve published on the Relentless Forward Momentum website. All 3 of my books are available for free (say whaaattt?!?!), plus you’ll get regular inspiration, motivation and strategy sent directly to your inbox. How could you possibly say no to all that?! :)