Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.
Have you ever given somebody a gift, not quite sure if it’s what they really want? You did the best you could and hoped it would hit the mark, but you just weren’t sure. Know the feeling? And then, they open it up and it’s the best surprise ever. Their eyes light up, their face begins to glow, and you know all the searching for that perfect gift paid off. It’s a good feeling.
It’s the same when you’re on the job and you’re just not sure if what you’re doing is exactly what the boss wants. Then you hand over the report and wait for the verdict. Especially if it didn’t take that long to complete, you’re pretty sure it came up short somewhere. But then you get a thumbs-up that says it was exactly what was needed. Whew! Time for a fresh cup of coffee!
That happens all through our lives. Sometimes you get the results immediately, like when the wrapping comes off a gift or you tell a brand-new joke onstage. Let me tell you, that one can be brutal. If its good, the payoff is exhilarating. If not, it can throw the rest of your night into one big disaster. And there’s nowhere to run. You have to finish the job and take the blows as they come.
As a comedian, I quickly learned how it feels to stand in that spotlight and deliver my best material to an audience that’s looking at their watch. If you’re lucky, they keep their opinions to themselves. But you have to work through that to get to the nights when they’re howling at everything you say. In the beginning, you wonder if it’ll ever happen, and if it’s worth all the trouble it takes to get there.
Sometimes, the results aren’t so immediate. You can put in your best effort for years before you find out if you did the job right. Parents, can I get an amen? It’s one thing to watch your kid tie their shoe for the first time and pat yourself on the back for being such a great teacher. But wait till they hit their teenage years or move out on their own. That’s when the real report card comes in.
Thankfully, with most things, we’re able to measure our success along the way. I sit here each morning and hammer out 800 words to (hopefully) brighten your day. Some days are better than others, and it’s usually the ones I’m not really sure of that get the best response. And going back to read it again is about as effective as telling the same joke twice, hoping it’ll be better the second time around.
I see people at work who are unsure of their position, praying they’ll measure up and do the job well. More often than not, they’re a lot more capable than they realize. And maybe it’s that uncertainty making them try harder that makes them so good. It’s usually the slouch who thinks they know it all that gets blindsided when the boss calls them in for a conversation nobody wants to hear.
If we approached everything thinking we can’t get any better, we never would. And, in the process, we’d eventually slide backward into a place of comfort that doesn’t require the extra effort it took to get good in the first place. On takeoff, the plane’s engines are at full throttle. As it climbs, the pilot gradually eases back until the plane reaches the desired altitude. At that point, it just cruises.
Cruising can be a good thing, if you’re happy with your current pace and trying to conserve energy. But sooner or later, another plane will zoom past because its throttles are set just a little bit higher. Then, when you get to your final destination, you find that the best parking spot is already taken by the pilot who wasn’t content to ease back and just cruise.
I find myself in that position a lot. I’ll work hard to get something going, and when I finally get some traction, I pat myself on the back and take a well-deserved breather. And with the throttles set on cruise, guess what happens? I sit back in my place of comfort as the world zooms past. The only way to catch up is to step on the gas and get back in the race. I’m guessing I’m not alone here.
We’ve all read the story of the tortoise and the hare. The rabbit would race to get ahead, then sit back until the tortoise crawled past. Then the race was on again. Granted, there was more than one tortoise in that story, so there was a little deception going on. But the point of the story is don’t get so cocky at anything that you don’t think you have to try.
Whatever you do, give it your best every day. The reward will always be worth the effort.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved