I ran across this scene at my local grocery store the other day: a shopping cart hooked over the curb of one of the parking lot flower beds literally TEN STEPS from the nearest cart corral.
This drives me NUTS. Like to the point that if I’m lucky enough to see it happening, I’ll walk up to the person and say in an overly nice way “Let me take that the last few steps to the cart corral for you.”
Sometimes I bet I don’t sound nice at all, especially when I over-emphasize the “last few steps” part.
But this is why most people never truly excel at work. They just won’t take those last few steps that change everything from sloppy to super. From incompetent to incredible. From wimpy to wow. Look at that shopping cart. Is that not the wimpiest act of mediocrity you’ve ever seen?
Oh, I know, it’s easy to cut corners, especially when it’s raining, or busy, or difficult, or (insert your own wimpy excuse here). Excellence begins with simply doing the work and taking ALL the steps. And developing the habit of ALWAYS doing so.
Lest I pretent to be perfect, I have my fair share of mediocre moments. In fact, here are some ways I let my excellence slip on occasion:
- I leave work for tomorrow that I should have/could have finished today.
- I don’t communicate information that might make someone else’s job easier.
- I let my desk get messy.
- I let my inbox get messy.
- I pile instead of file.
- I focus on things I want to do instead of what needs to be done.
- I do things myself that I should delegate.
Oh, believe me, this list could be a mile long. I’m stopping here to preserve my dignity.
The saddest part of my list is that every single thing I mentioned is like hooking the shopping cart on the curb. Every one of these things is just a few short steps (or minutes) away from excellence. Yet, sometimes I stop at “OK“, or “good enough”, or “I’ll finish that tomorrow.”
Did any of my lapses of excellence sound familiar to you? Any chance I can convince you to join me in taking a few extra steps today?