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Be the best you can be

Jessica Guidobono said, "Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." When people see your "autograph," what do they see?

An employee went to his supervisor to ask for a raise. "I am already planning on giving you a raise," she said. "Oh, great!" he said. "When will it be effective?" "As soon as you are," she explained.

Do you give your best in your role at work? If a thing is worthy of our time (...and we all certainly dedicate many hours to our professions), it is worthy of our best efforts.

In some of his speeches, Louis T. Rader relates that many top executives feel that a 99 percent effort is good enough. But here is the eye opener. If this figure -- 99 percent -- were converted into our daily non-industrial life, it means that:

  • More than 30,000 babies would be accidentally dropped by doctors and nurses each year.
  • Electricity would be off for fifteen minutes each day.
  • Twelve newborns would be given to the wrong parents daily.
  • 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes would be shipped each year.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled per hour.
  • 2.5 million books would be shipped with the wrong cover.
  • Two planes would crash daily at Chicago's O'Hare.

Perfection is impossible for us to achieve. But doing and being one's best is not. Texas' first black congresswoman, Barbara Jordon, once said, "Each day you have to look into the mirror and say to yourself, "I'm going to be the best I can no matter what it takes." She never said, "I will be the best." She said, "I will be the best I can."

Think about the effort you put into being the best programmer, the best sales rep, the best leader you can be. How would you rate yourself on a 10 point scale, with 10 being "I consistently give my best" and 1 being "I'm a sluggard."

If your job is a self-portrait of you, are you proud of that portrait?

  • If you can honestly answer "yes," how can you ensure that you maintain that level of effort through the ups and downs of the workplace?
  • If you had to answer "no," what one thing can you do differently starting today that will begin to improve that picture of your and your effort?

- Shirley Poertner



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