Do It Right the First Time
I’m willing to bet there are things that you do everyday that you aren’t great at. Me too. Maybe we can form and join the club, together. We’ll have billions of our fellow world citizens as company. People have their theories on life, its meaning and why we’re here. We can all debate those things, figure out what’s right and try to determine what fits for us.
One thing I know is that life is always trying to teach us a lesson. I believe all of us are on a path toward discovering the unique talent or talents that we have that we are meant to share with the world. We search our souls for what makes us tick, what we enjoy and how we can continuously improve through trial and error.
I’ve worked as a project manager, business consultant, basketball coach, sales representative, financial analyst, researcher and facilities manager. Did I forget busboy, cabana boy and supermarket cashier?! In each job, I’ve gathered the best practices of the craft, looked to gain my footing and tried to figure out how much I love what I do.
I’ve had major successes, won awards and been honored by my superiors. I’ve also performed inadequately, failed miserably and been fired. I’ve had ebbs and flows of working hard, not exactly working hard at all, loving what I do, and ultimately changing professions. Believe me, cabana boy is not quite as glamorous as it sounds.
A valuable takeaway from all of this is: if you’re going to do spend your time doing something, do it well and do it right. The biggest mistake you can make (particularly early on) in your life is attempting to, “just get by.”
Passion and Enthusiasm
While it may work in the short-term, the mindset of “just getting by” will slowly eat away at you from the inside. It will harm your future prospects for success. When you’re just trying to get by, you’re not giving your best shot, and you’re living without passion. Passion — an enthusiasm and vitality for a given pursuit — is essential for you to perform at your best.
If you don’t believe that, stop and think about people who you admire who have achieved success in a particular field. From what you know about those individuals, does it stand out that they are enthusiastic about their craft? I think you’ll find the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!”
I took note earlier this year when NFL legend Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL following a 18-year career. The most poignant words I gleaned from his speech were, “I revere football.” These words were the distillation of nearly two professional decades of grinding it out on the gridiron; not to mention nearly a lifetime of playing, watching, talking and learning the game.
Peyton Manning became one of the greatest players in league history. Reading between the lines, I realized that he was able to break tons of records, win two Super Bowls and carve out a certain Hall of Fame career because he loved everything about the game of football.
“When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can’t help but revere it. I revere football. I love the game. So you don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely. Absolutely I will.” — Peyton Manning, Retirement press conference, 3/7/16
Every Detail Matters. Do it Right
“Life is a checkerboard, and the player opposite you is TIME. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your checkers will be wiped off the board by TIME. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate INDECISION!” — Napoleon Hill
Half-hearted efforts simply do not cut it in the modern world. This is nothing new — they never have. And yet far too many people go through life thinking they can just half-ass their way through and get by. Somehow, they’ll be picked up along the way and be able to support themselves and find happiness. It’s a long road to ruin, that much I know from experience.
I spent several years of my 20's trying to figure things out, while looking for the answers in the wrong places. I didn’t get deep in analysis about how to think positively, how to work harder or how to surround myself with a supporting structure of people that would lift me to bigger, better places. I knew I needed those things. But my will wasn’t strong enough. I lost time and opportunities and trust me when I tell you — I have paid for it.
There’s far too much competition and too many other people willing to take the chair that you may be fortunate enough to be sitting in right now. You may not love what you’re doing this moment, but I can promise you someone else out there may just like it more than you. That person may be willing to fight for that same opportunity with greater energy and vigor.
They’re willing to do the job right the first time, and leave no doubts, questions or thoughts of alternatives.
The picture above this post is of legendary UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach, John Wooden. He said the words in quotes. Coach Wooden was a stickler for focusing on details. He’s famously known for teaching his players — at the start of each new season — how to properly tie the shoelaces on their basketball sneakers.
Of course, there was a lesson in all of this: Every detail matters. Everything we do, from the “little things” all the way up to what we perceive to be the big things, matters. Do it well, do it right the first time and that consistency and routine will set the tone for how we manage our approach to everything else.
We all operate with a limited amount of time. Time is by far our most precious commodity. As we get older, more responsibilities come on our plate, expectations increase and we only have a finite amount of time to maximize our potential in each situation. Get it right the first time by concentrating with maximum focus, energy and effort on all that you do.
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My upcoming book, The Courage to Have Faith in the 21st Century is due out early next year. Contact me via my website here and and subscribe if you feel inclined! Also, Like my Facebook writer’s page here! I’m so grateful for all of your support as I continue to dream and live out my journey. I fully support yours. Keep Going.