I have a friend with a very unique buying style. She doesn’t like average, so every time she buys something, she either buys the best she can get, or the cheapest that she can find. The reason is simple. When you get the best of something, its overall quality is usually very high compared to the other average products. On the other hand, if you decide to buy average, there’s no much difference in quality between the cheapest and the other products, so you might as well buy the cheapest and be happy with that.
This extreme example works only if you know exactly what you need. If you don’t know which features you’re looking for then it’s impossible to compare two products based on quality. And price alone is often not enough to make this comparison (thus the best product is not always the most expensive).
But, and let me tell you this is a big but, we can apply this idea to our work and decide to either produce exceptional work, or the crappiest ever! Let me tell you in advance that if you want to produce crappy work, this post is not for you. You can go and take a cup of coffee and enjoy your day. There’s nothing wrong with that, only that there’s not much to say about it either.
So what happens when you consciously decide that you are going to produce the best work? You get much better results of course, which usually translates in more money and opportunities.
It’s easy to imagine what the results would look like, but how do you actually get there?
Creating your best work is 80% mindset, and 20% skills. You can learn the skills with time and practice, but you won’t go far without the right mindset. The good news is that to get that 80% right you simply have to make the decision that from now on you’re going to do your best every time. Write it on a sticky note in your desk so that you wont forget it tomorrow.
Once you do that, you can start to work on the remaining 20%. Upgrading your skills is a process than never ends. Thus, this remaining 20% is virtual. You’ll always have something new to learn from your previous experiences.
You may be tempted to think that having the right mindset alone is enough. In reality it can’t be for many reason. First, if you never upgrade your skills, your work will eventually start to become average again, as competitors will be providing something better. Second, without challenges your work will become boring even for you after a while, and you’ll soon lose motivation.
When you produce your best work, people perceive its value. You can see from a mile if a product or service is the result of love or if it was just something that needed to be done. Also don’t expect that everyone will like what you do the first time. You still need time to practice and improve your skills.
Working this way takes a bit more time than usual, but the results are astonishing. Being rated the first among competitors rather than second or third is the difference between day and night. Choose carefully what you’re going to do today, and do it well.
Beyond Average: A Guide for Making Your Best Work