How do you look at your day? Is everything you do feel mundane? You are going to spend eight hours of your day doing something. You can either get by and just get it over with. Simply be good enough. An average Joe. Or you could be like Jon Bon Jovi “I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd…you’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud…” so what’s it going to be?
There is no such thing as being born great. You can be born to royalty but you can never be born great. Greatness is not an entitlement. Relentlessness and hard work is what it takes. There are no shortcuts. So what are you going to do everyday with all the mundane stuff that just has to be done? The idea I want to instill is that no task is ordinary. Everything you do is an opportunity to make it WOW! It’s your choice. You just have to care enough to make it count. If everything you do is going to be great then eventually you would be associated with greatness. As each of those small things pile up they build you. The way you do them is what will define you and your work. Over time people will see you for who you are. The question is how?
Start with why!
Why are you doing it? Why do we do ANYTHING to begin with? There has to be a larger purpose to what you do. Define it clearly. If it is inline with your life purpose then pursue it with full zeal. If it is a small endeavor towards your path to greatness then make it great. This idea was best captured by Simon Sinek in his book “Start with why”. Stephen Covey urged the same by asking each and everyone one of us to craft a personal mission statement – a vision of what you would like to achieve. He was a big believer in the power of imagination to envision our ideal future self and work towards it. It has to be motivating and inspiring, something that makes the day-to-day drudgery feel worth it. Once that ideal has been set then it’s all about working through the dots. It all may seem idealistic and typical self-help BS! But it is important because there is a flip side to seeking perfection in all you do. Without purpose all that hard work and relentlessness would simply be a huge waste of energy. As Nelson Mandela once said “action without vision is just passing time but action with a vision can change the world.”
Grit and Perseverance
Dreaming is the easy part. It’s the ability to push through and make it happen is what counts. To be able to follow through on that vision day in and day out. A large part of how one is able to commit to a set of actions consistently has to do with the presence of certain traits. In his book “How children Succeed” Paul Tough makes the case for certain traits that need to be ingrained from childhood as they are essential for success in later life. Two of them are grit and perseverance. How much of the heat can you take? Do you have it in you to push through, to keep aspiring for more. To be resilient against all odds. With a bigger purpose defined each action should help you get there. As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford Speech. The dots will connect. They may not do so in the beginning but if you keep scraping through the nuts and bolts they will eventually come together and start to make sense. But those scrapes are not emails and pushing paper through the system. They are “WOW Projects”.
What are you creating, inspiring or enabling? Tom Peters captures this idea as something he calls “WOW Projects.” It is a simple concept but one often ignored in the drudgery of corporate life. He defined the delivery of WOW through the pursuit of meaningful projects. Small bunch of tasks combined to create something remarkable. It is the essence of what this post is all about. With the right vision and attitude, the pursuit of a project is the translation of a vision into purposeful action. Projects are opportunities for greatness. Regardless of the fact that you chose to do them or they were handed over to you. They usually come with a clear end. It is now up to you to make it count. If it is inline with your vision then this is where you need to bring your A-game. And when you do I am 100% sure that the outcome would be something you would proudly want to sign your name on.
Have something to add? Or a WOW project you feel really proud of? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.