My generation sometimes gets a bad rap for being “lazy”, “entitled”, “self-absorbed”. While I mostly reject mass generalizations that attach themselves to a group of people that then is pervasive into an individual’s identity, there are moments that remind me that sometimes these stereotypes are based in truth.
When I started my career, I stopped at nothing to make sure I accomplished everything my boss expected every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year. I never missed a goal, no matter what it took; late nights in the office on a Friday, early mornings on Monday, soggy cold lunch at my desk, almost to a point of obsession. It was and still is an obsession. A laser-focused desire, need to succeed, to be the best.
One of the most important things I’ve learned throughout this is that a critical piece is on the way to being the best, you have to make those to whom you report, those you support, the best. If you do everything in your power to make your boss, your coach, your professor, whomever you work “for” look great, they will often bring you up with them and stop at nothing to look out for you and additional opportunities.
All too often as a manager I now hear excuses — “I didn’t double check”, “I didn’t have time” or the worst of them all “I forgot” – from the same people who then expect to somehow magically be respected, promoted, and allowed privileged positions or information. You don’t just get that; you have to earn that. And you don’t just earn it once and have it forever, you have to work for it every. single. day.
People are either born with or get through life circumstance, the fire within to work hard and move up towards success; you cannot light a fire for someone else, only inspire them to do it for themselves. However, if you have the fire, you cannot let anyone stand in the way or hurt your chances or diminish your effort. By demanding excellence from yourself, you demand excellence from everything else in your life. And this excellence is the makings of success.