I have a very fashionable friend, let’s call him Shawn. He’s always dressed to impress. Shawn doesn’t throw some clothes on and show up somewhere, he ‘curates’ a look for each occasion. He started wearing scarves before they were considered cool and also knows the difference between turtleneck and polo neck (they’re two different things apparently).
When Shawn gives you fashion advice, he won’t just tell you what to wear, he will also tell you how to improvise your 'look' with what you have. He never leaves anything to chance when it comes to fashion - the jacket has to match the boots and the boots have to match the belt. And there is always a score for each look, anything less than an 8/10 is sacrilege.
Fashion was serious business with him. It was oddly endearing to see someone care so much about something.
And his favourite phrase?
"I wouldn't be caught dead in that!"
It wasn't about wearing expensive clothes or designer accessories, it was about consciously choosing to wear the best thing for every occasion. One had to admire the level of commitment he had.
I don’t know much about fashion but I’d like to think I know a thing or two about a solid work ethic. This level of meticulousness reminds me of the old saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything”.
If you’re tempted to say, “no one is looking”, “this isn’t part of my job”, “this isn’t worth doing”, remind yourself — everything counts. Everything that you do and don’t do, everything that you do well and everything that you choose to do poorly because you can afford to — all of it adds up and becomes part of the sum total of the person you are now and carries over to the person you’re going to become.
And what is life but a series of decisions and actions...
If you intend to do something great with your life, you can't afford to cut corners. Not at work, not at home, not when no one's looking. Not ever.
It's sometimes easy to forget what we do will directly impact us even if we're doing it with the intent of serving someone else.
You may be building a house for someone, or writing up a workpaper for an audit you're not a part of, or even doing some chores around the house. Everything you do improves you or harms you depending on how you direct your attention towards it.
Do a lousy job of ‘unimportant’ things long enough and it gets difficult to do the ‘important’ things well. If you’re not expanding, you’re shrinking.
Whatever your station in life is, remember this, there is nothing that can prevent you from doing your absolute best. At any moment, you have the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary, the simple into the profound, the routine into something meaningful, and above all, the ordinary into something exceptional.
Wherever you go, be that person, the one that holds themselves to very high standards and in doing so, raises the bar for whatever it is they are associated with.