I’ve had a few instances in my working life when clients or customers reported to me, or my bosses, that I exude confidence. They were reporting that my performance stood out to them in some way. I’ve had similar experiences with particularly good workers in numerous settings. I suppose, by definition, most people are average, so those of us who rise above stand out. For me, it is about getting the job done in a way that the client will be more than just satisfied. Whether it is doing the job faster or otherwise providing a good product/service, I want my work to stand out. In thinking about this, I considered the many times when I’ve observed people who just try to get through life or work “under the radar.” They want to do their job, even if to minimal standards, and keep their heads down. They don’t offer to step up to help the customer or their employer. I’ve employed a number of these type of people over the years and they don’t typically last very long in their positions. This is not how I work, it isn’t how Melissa works, and it isn’t how we want people to perceive Magnus. I know there is always a need for some “worker bees” in any business, and, to a degree, that is fine. But, to have very satisfied clients, they need to see that everyone on the team is working to help them, even on little details. I know the concept of “lean in” has been a hot topic for a few years. As I think of it, I think of leaning in as a way to exude confidence. It is to take charge, or, at least, take ownership of a problem or situation or a task. Going through the motions is not, to me, a good career plan.
I am a lot of things, but “average” is not one of them. Never has been. Never will be. I can’t relate to how it must be to be average. (People who have heard me play the bass guitar may disagree with my statement that I am not average, however, my long time teacher, a professional musician, says my playing surpassed the average mark many years ago.) Recently, after a particularly arduous research day, David complimented me by saying “You did a great job today! The clients were impressed!”. I thanked him for the compliment, then asked, rhetorically, “When have I not done a great job?” Like the late, great Jaco Pastorius said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true,” but I refuse to do any task related to my job at a level other than great, excellent, or even better, fantabulous. I’d rather not do the job at all than to coast, sit on the sidelines, or let other people do the bulk of the work while I mark the passage of time. That’s just not who I am. Thankfully, David is like minded in his desire and ability to perform his work with excellence. We are both serious people who work for attorneys with zero tolerance for slackers. Instead of doing work they are likely to perceive as “okay,” “pretty good,” or “average,” we prove to them, time and time again, that they did the right thing by hiring people who will help them with their challenging cases with the highest quality work that can be performed. Word to the wise: average is fine for many people, but it’s not part of David’s and my existence.