Mailing it in?

Blogging is an interesting “thing”.  It can be part instructional, part journalism, part journal, and in a lot of  cases, an attempt to inspire, through self revelation.  For me, it is probably a little of all that, but of late I have started and stopped a few different posts as they seemed to be a way of airing my internal dirty laundry and or shortcomings while hoping that through this telling of my challenges, others may benefit.

Before I go any further, let me clarify that my “challenges” are at worst, petty shortcomings and what most silly corporate lingo types would say are merely “opportunities for improvement.”

I’d be lying if I said I really didn’t enjoy New Years.  While resolutions aren’t my thing, the holidays are a good time to reflect and set some goals (expectations) for the next year.  As we all have had a little time to relax, it’s good to look back and look forward.  To be clear, if March 24 is better time for you, so be it.  I just think it’s good to do.

Out on my run today I was thinking a lot about how I performed at the different “jobs” I have.  What I kept coming up with is that I had done enough to get the job done…but how well?

At some point in my life I figured out that I was fairly capable at doing and learning new things.  Whether it was music, sport, career, cooking, business, etc., I have always, with some effort, been able to get “pretty good” at these endeavors. But where is the line between being pretty good and doing the minimum and mailing it in?

There has in my life been one time that I have totally focussed on one thing and one thing only for an extended period of time.  This was my swim back in 2007.  Never in any of part my life felt like I didn’t cut some, albeit small, corner.  For those 5 months in 2007-2008, for that one endeavor, I did it all as close to perfectly as I could, and I saw it through to the end.

When my friends asked me after what it felt like, my reply was that it was the greatest I had felt about anything, that I could have died the next day content.  Most people thought that this was due to the physical achievement, and that I guess is part of it, but the greater sense of accomplishment was finishing something as perfectly as I could, start to finish.

Let me be clear, this type of focus comes at a price.  While all this narcissistic epicness was going down, my business was on the ropes and my wife was juggling her job and doing the lions share of the parenting at our house.  Everything comes at a cost.

Back to the present.  As I outlined in a previous post, I have said yes a little too much, and the reality is that I feel like I am mailing it in with some of the things I am committed to.  This es no bueno, and I am trying to go through these commitments and seeing where I am going to focus.

Jack of all trades and master of none doesn’t win the race.  I’m making a list and cutting some fat.

I’ve read somewhere that even at our best that we are really only giving about 85%.  There is no such thing as giving 110%, because there is only 100% to give.  Let’s at the least be real about things.

No blog entry of late would be complete without a list of some sort.  I usually number these.  But today, I’m going a little crazy and I may bullet it.

Instead of a step by step “how to”, I think this deserves a different mindset.  As I go through my list of things (read jobs) that I do I am committed to ask the following, and take the appropriate corrective step.

  • Am I cutting a corner?  If so why?  Is it out of fear?  Is it due to laziness?   Agree to not cut corners.  If there is a fear or negative motivation, figure out what it is and address it.
  • Agree to make all decisions based on the moral and honest way of doing things.  Always.
  • What would be the best anyone could do a task or job I am doing?  Am I reaching that level?  If not is it because I did everything I could the right way or is there another reason?  Do the first part and identify the second.
  • Do I really want to do this activity any more?  If not, complete the project to the best of my abilities and find a way to remove this from my list of “things”.
  • Does the activity/job line up with my “why”?  If not, get rid of it.
  • Can you pass the “look yourself in the mirror,” test?
  • Give 85%

Agree to keep on fighting the good fight and come up with your own criteria to make sure you aren’t mailing it in.

hugs + high fives,

PF

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