Is This Your Best Work?
The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything.
If there is one saying to hang above your desk in your office, the following quote from John Wooden might be the perfect reminder:
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?"
Coach Wooden's advice is perfect for reviewing each day; as is the story of President Nixon's former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger and his chief speechwriter Winston Lord.
Kissinger gave Lord instructions on a specific speech and ample time to prepare before Kissinger had to give his talk. For a few days, Lord wrote the address, and when completed, he placed the final product on Kissinger's desk for his review. The next day Kissinger returned the speech to Lord with a note on the front page: "Is this the best you can do." Winston Lord was shocked and immediately went to work on another draft. Several days later, the same thing occurred, speech completed, placed on Kissinger's desk and returned with the same note. This cycle went on eight times. Finally, after the eighth return, Lord marched into Kissinger's office proclaiming: "This was his finest work and could not get better." Once hearing those words, Henry Kissinger said, "Now I will read it."
Some might view Kissinger's behavior as obsessive—which it was. However, had Lord thought of Coach Wooden's advice before submitting the first draft, he might have avoided the seven re-writes. Lord was talented, and like all gifted people, their B and C game is often better than other’s A-game. Kissinger wanted Lord's A-game. He wanted Lord to nurture his gift while reaching deep inside himself for his best work and mastery. Kissinger knew Lord's only competition was against himself. He challenged Lord to compete against himself while going beyond the surface from good to great with unwavering intention.
Each day we have a unique opportunity to explore the depths of who we are while displaying our A-game. We might not always feel right. We might be low on sleep or busy with the daily grind of life. But every activity we participate in during the day needs our A-game. Needs our most present, best and whole selves; because “the way we do anything is the way we do everything.” Start with one day of bringing your A-game to each moment and assignment. This act alone will nurture your talents and demonstrate to yourself how much more you have within to contribute.
Henry Kissinger wanted to reach Winston Lord's reservoir of untapped potential. So should you, and there is no better day than today to start!
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