“Ho hum.” That’s too often the mantra about our jobs.
We do our work routinely, passing go, like in the Monopoly game, collecting our weekly paychecks, hoping our mundane job will one day turn into a thrill ride.
The fact is: We get from our jobs what we expect…of ourselves. What we put in determines what comes out.
When it comes to creating a long, satisfying career, each of us is accountable.
It’s not about the boss who won’t promote you or the company that doesn’t provide training or the coworkers who are duds. It’s about you:
- the goals you set,
- the quality of work you do,
- the effort you make to build skills,
- the risks you’re willing to take–like saying “yes” to new assignments or switching companies
The truth is:
Getting good brings you to a love of your work.
Achieve that and the payoffs are yours.
You know who the serious careerists are at work. You see them knuckling down and pounding out the work. They know what they want to get good at because that’s where their strengths and interests are. So they keep testing themselves, making “can do” their mantra.
Employees who come to work only to pass go are a drag on the organization. They perpetuate the status quo when success requires growth. Ho hum locks you in place..
Our strengths are the starting point for getting good. By focusing on strengths that motivate you consistently, you can set goals that keep inching you toward the career success you want.
Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, from the TV series and mega-hit, Seinfeld, is a case in point.
He appeared on the Mike and Mike in the Morning program on ESPN (January 30, 2014) for the first time. Co-host Michael Greenberg asked Seinfeld questions that led to insightful (not funny) answers.
First, Greenburg wanted to know why Seinfeld was still doing standup and other projects since he didn’t need the money:
Anybody who’s ever good at anything is doing it because they love it…it’s a way of life for me, it’s not about the money…it feels like you’re using what you have.
Seinfeld spoke openly about how he struggled to become a good comedian. Performing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was his big moment: Succeed there or go up in flames. He had to be “all in” or else.
Seinfeld observed in successful baseball players that same commitment to being all in:
I admire anyone who is in love with their craft and their pursuit. People who kill themselves with the physical and prep side of the game…I want to see how they approach the game. The guys who put the mental work into the game.
Seinfeld recognizes that getting good means understanding how success is achieved:
Baseball is a beautiful model of how things happen…In football it’s hard for us to understand the formations and the play calls. In baseball we can see pretty easily what happened.
In our careers we need to see and understand what’s going on too–the politics of the workplace, the competitive environment, performance expectations, and the capabilities of our coworkers.
Being all in at work means being fully aware of what’s going on in our field of play.
Getting good is a commitment you build on for as long as you wish. Seinfeld recently launched a on-line video series, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. It’s an unscripted conversation that takes his comedian guests, as he says, “out of their packaging.”
Seinfeld wanted to learn “how things happen” around internet programming, being fascinated by the idea that he could shoot a segment and then: “I can immediately put a show in your pocket.”
Once you know what “all in” feels like, it can take you places you never imagined.
All of us aren’t Jerry Seinfeld, but we’re either all in or just passing go in our careers. Now’s a good time to raise the volume on your “can do” mantra and recommit.