Monday, July 9, 2012

Are you working Big or Small?

Let's face it... there is no shortage of work to be done.  Our schedules are jammed. We race from one meeting to the next, one task to the next, one conversation to the next. We get stuff done.

But... and this is the definitive but... we mostly play it small. Every day we are caught up in pushing through the clerical and bureaucratic work. Yes, I do realize that it's your 'job', but when you are in the mode of 'getting stuff done', of just 'pushing things through' to get them checked off the list, you are doing the Small work.  The day to day grind of those things that need to get done but that don't distinguish you. We can get so caught up in the 'busyness' of work that we overlook the fact that we are simply being busy, but not getting busy on the things that matter.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you have to be prepared to do the Big work.  These are your key differentiators. This is what your competition is likely not doing.  Like you, they too get caught up in the bustle of the everyday.  To stand out you have to be prepared to take on the Big work.  These are those elements that might be risky, that might prove scary, but that help you to stand out and move up.

The Big work can take place in small moments of decision.  Moments in which there is no time for major planning or design, just the need to step up to the plate.  These are the moments that you could quite easily pass on.  No one would fault you for not doing them because they likely are not fully within your job description.  They are risky because, if you fail, you will be faulted.  However, if you succeed, it is a certainty that you will be remembered, appreciated and noticed.  Ultimately, this is the formula for getting promoted.

You can play it safe and build your career safely straddling the 'Meets Expectations' line but know that your greatest achievements and successes in life occurred when you stepped away from that line and took a chance. The moments that likely still infect you with a feeling of pride and accomplishment were those when you thought and acted Big, when you stepped away from the safety and comfort of small thoughts and small deeds.

Look at how you fill your days, the activities you engage in, the thoughts you have, the risks you take and ask yourself... Am I working Big or Small?   Your actions drive your rewards.  Are your actions in line with what you want for and from your life?

If you work Small, even in huge volumes, expect small rewards.  Working Big is what it takes for those big rewards.  You don't need a lot of them, but you do need them if Success is your goal.

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