ONE THING TO MAKE IT EVEN BETTER
When I’m having my very best of days and I’ve been working hard on some task, there is a moment when I stop and say, “Okay, that’s good. But what is one thing I could do to make it even better?”
This applies in both the mundane and the complex, and I am a believer that when I exercise this “I can do better” attitude in the details of life, it becomes natural to live it out in the more complex situations as well. And, although I’ve never articulated it before, this lines up with my last blog about the mailroom job at DuPont.
DISCLAIMER: I will lead off here by saying that in NO WAY, do I pull this off 100% of the time!
In fact, I’d say, that across the different platforms of my life, I probably average about 40-60% success in the effort.
I will say, though, that I’ve become convinced that the folks who do manage to pull this off 70-90% of the time are the ones who really make it big in whatever it is they want to achieve. From the arts, to the gym, to business, to organizing the other grocery carts in the parking lot when you return your own cart: “What is one thing I could do to make it even better?” is a question that (if it drives you to action), is one of the underpinnings of anything you may define as success.
I worked with someone today who completely blew me away with her preparation process for the response to a question I asked, and I realized that she is one of those rare breeds who probably operates this way between 70-90% of the time. And I’m in awe. She exemplifies this ethic. And he made me realize, that in my own organizations, I am more grateful for any two of those people in exchange for five-eight of the most brilliant, pedigreed, and certified technicians.
This one habit is a real differentiator. It is so easy to stand out from the pack by simply going the extra mile – or really, sometimes only the extra yard. It can take many forms, but each one of those forms will provide an exponential return. Some examples of the things that people who exercise this habit do:
Accountants: They create spreadsheets, and then… make sure they’re paginated to print before emailing.
Job Seekers: They research the company and people they are interviewing with, and then… top it off with a white paper proposing a solution.
Athletes: They work out in practice until they are exhausted, and then… get in that one extra rep when they are convinced they have no more strength.
Employees: They get to work on time, and then… pick up trash that may be on the sidewalk on the way into their office.
I can tell you that each one of these very specific examples has made a significant difference for me or someone I know. The return may come today or tomorrow and it may be directly related to a specific effort. Or the return may come later as a result of patient consistency with exercising the practice. But, make no mistake – it will come. Whatever your dream is, the people who will be attracted to helping you make it happen will be drawn to you because of this ethic. When someone lives this way, it shines through no matter what the profession, or cause, or dream.
So, I think I’m going to re-read this now and see if there is one thing I could do to make it even better.
Author, Virtual CFO, and Finance Coach