It’s not my fault. I didn’t know the assignment was due last Friday! Why do I have to do all the hard jobs!

We all know people who spend a great deal of time and energy to do the least amount of work. It’s not that they’re unsure how to do the job well; they just consciously set out to do the minimum, often having to repeat the work because it was substandard. Reminds me of the old saying – There’s never time to do things right, but always time to do them over…

It’s not surprising that people who focus on doing the minimum are generally the first to complain they are being passed over for promotions or are being singled out for disciplinary actions.

When thinking back to the positive and negative people I have worked with and have known over the years, two things come to mind:

  • 1. The people who were self-starters, and were motivated to do their best are better off financially than those that did just enough to get by; and
  • 2. People who took the initiative to do things better, or didn’t wait to be told to do the next task are the ones that got promoted and were given more responsibility – often, to supervise others who were just getting by.

Good enough might keep you in a job, but doing more than is expected will keep you moving up. Only you can demonstrate (through your actions) which is right for you. What is your attitude toward work and life? Do you do what it takes to just get by, or are you constantly looking for ways to improve things at work, home and in your community? If you are committed to being the best you can be, here are a few ways to distinguish yourself:

  • In looking for a job, research the company before you submit your application or resume. Mention in your cover letter if you reviewed the company’s website or have spoken with company employees. Let them know that your goals, aspirations and values mirror those of the employer, if they do, and that you believe you can add value to the company through hard work and dedication. Also, comment about the company’s website or their printed material at some point in the interview. This shows you went the extra mile in your preparation and demonstrates to the employer that you are a self-starter.
  • In school, do more than is expected for a good grade. Bring in a current event article from the newspaper or a magazine that is appropriate to the class. Show up on time every day. Participate in class discussions and always re-read your papers before submitting them to make sure the grammar, spelling (spell check) and content are deserving of the grade you are seeking.
  • On the job, show up early. Express a willingness to your supervisor to do the jobs others don’t want to do. Offer suggestions or observations about ways to make your employer more efficient or profitable, and improve your technical skills by reading or taking classes.

The world is our mirror, reflecting back in wages and happiness in direct proportion to what we consistently offer to others.

Before you show up to school or work tomorrow, decide what you want or deserve, and set out to be worthy of that reward. I think you will find that in the long run, Good guys do finish first and that people are customarily rewarded based on what they are willing to contribute.

Give a little – expect little in return. Give more than anyone expects, and you’ll be surprised with the emotional and financial rewards that follow. After all, good enough… isn’t really good enough…