"Every job is a self portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence." That little thunderbolt of motivation struck me and really got me thinking; Do I always autograph my work with excellence?
The short answer is no, I didn’t, and if you're honest (it's a safe space, promise) you don't either. Sometimes we make excuses for only giving 70, 60, or even 50% of our full capacity. We try to justify our lack of effort with reasoning like "I was too tired" or "I wasn't feeling well" or "other priorities kept getting in the way" when in reality we were just being lazy, lethargic, undisciplined.
We try to tell ourselves that it doesn't show, and sometimes we might get away with it; that paper done the night before it was due in a haze of red bull and caffeine pills might still pass with a 'B' and that's an honourable grade if that's your ceiling. But in your heart you know that if you'd knuckled down a few days before and really put some thought into it, you could have got an 'A.' And that's the difference - your work should show your excellence. If your ceiling is 'A' high, stop autographing your work with 'B's.
This shouldn't be acceptable when we want to conquer. At every juncture, in every project we should autograph to show our excellence. We should aim to give the best of ourselves every time. Yes, yes, I hear you, we are all human and will fall down from time to time, signing our autograph with that 'B.' But as long as our 'B's are the exception and not the rule in our work, well then we're doing ok.
Remember, no one starts out excellent. We start as novices and climb the ladder of our craft one rung at a time. The effort we put in is equal to how sturdy we plant our feet on each rung of the ladder; the less thought and focus, the more likely we are to slip off and create a sloppy autograph.
It's not easy and the cliche of it all is, nothing worth having ever is. But you just have to keep working hard for the things you want as no one ever made it to the top by being average.
Now take that and let it marinate.