Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fanatics

I saw this comic today by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Bus Stop

If you’re a writer, or just like books and reading, she is definitely one to follow, her comics are hilarious.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. We were talking about the things that we’re good at. She mentioned that I’ve always been really good ad keeping people in mind, considering their feelings and needs, even if I don’t have much reason to. For me it simply boils down to loving people, even if I don’t like them very much, and doing whatever I can to help them to have the best life possible.

I was also thinking about how my friend is incredibly good at pursuing excellence in whatever she does. She’s one of those people who, if they agree to do something, you know will be done better than you’d have ever done it yourself. You also know that once you give her the task you don’t need to look over her shoulder or check up on how it’s going. It’ll just get done, and she’ll even be pro-active and let you know how it’s going along the way. She simply wants to be the best.

But then, who of us doesn’t want to be the best? Sure, I know people who’ve decided to coast along in life, either in their career, family or friendships. They just roll along deciding, either openly or subconsciously, to make one of those three less of a priority than the others. We can’t be everything to everyone.

I know that the people I work with who really strive for excellence are also the ones I enjoy working with the most. They’re the people I’ll actively seek out first for any new, interesting project that I think they’ll enjoy.

The people who strive for excellence in parenting show’s pretty clearly through an innate brightness that comes from them and joy you feel from being around them. I may not be the best, but boy I strive to be seen as the best “dad” by the mom’s at Rachel’s daycare. It was great to get one kid (not mine) to finally eat his dinner, or all five kids sitting quietly outside while we waited for the other mom’s to get out of the restaurant to get their kids. I’m by no means perfect, you should see how frustrated I get with my own kids sometimes, especially when sleeps involved, but I do strive to make Erin proud of her husband for being a great dad.

While my friend really is excellent at everything, not all of us can quite get there. At the same time, we do all strive for excellence in some art of our world. So, I’m really curious, what things do you do where you really strive for excellence?

Mine are probably

  • Knowing the most useful information about current and upcoming technologies, especially around programming and Microsoft stuff. I strive to be recognized as an expert in whatever technology I use, or have used.
  • Delivering excellent products
  • Being the manager that people want to come to when they have a problem or need advice without focus on the corporate bottom line
  • Being the most envied dad by mom’s around me, or said another way, being someone Erin is proud to say she’s married too
  • Looking at everything from a different perspective, and never becoming complacent in the normal
  • Being an example of how others can live

Obviously, I fail miserably at ALL of these. But that never stops me from focusing everything I have on them. It’s really about prioritizing. But by making that list it’s also somewhat easy to see what I value. As my friend said earlier, it’s all about people and making people get what they expect, and more. Making their lives better.

How about you?

Peace,
+Tom

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