Here’s a secret about guys who play sports.
Yes, we love the exercise and thrill of competition. BUT, one of the biggest reasons we play is because it is the closest we will ever get to living out our childhood fantasies of being super heroes (there, I said it!). We get to:
- suit up in futuristic-looking protective gear
- wear colorful uniforms, and
- head into battle with our “super-friends”.
My first hockey team, circa 1981
That aside, one of the reasons I love playing hockey is because so seldom in life do I get to go “all out” like I do when I’m on the ice. Chasing down an opposing player, fighting for the puck in a corner, or winding up for a slap-shot are all things I try to do as hard as I can. I’m challenged. I’m learning. I’m engaged.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t experience that type of engagement and intensity often enough, especially in our work life. This begs the question:
At work, how often do you go “all out”?
Going all out at work doesn’t mean working insanely long hours or crafting an overly complex solution to a simple problem. It’s more like a series a small actions performed consistently and continuously over time.
For example, it can include things like:
- introducing a new web tool to your colleagues to help boost productivity
- creating a new set of standards or best-practices without being asked
- asking the people around you how you can best support them
- pitching an original cost saving idea to your management team
Just over a year ago I contemplated my next career move: secure a rewarding roll at an established company or join another start-up.
Given my growing family, mortgage, and oh, the global recession, the thought of taking a huge pay cut to join another new venture was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make. After all, wasn’t the point of helping to build start-ups to use the experience as a springboard to secure an awesome, high paying job somewhere else?
In the end, I chose the start-up.
While I’ve spoken about this decision before, one of the main reasons I made it was because I knew the start-up environment would allow me to go “all out”. To “play as hard as I can”, test the boundaries of my knowledge and skill and in doing so, learn and grow faster.
Even one short year later, the risk has more than paid off. How do I know? Because I feel more than one year smarter, experienced, and wiser. I’ve cheated time! What’s even better, I get to share the awesome experience with a crew of people who feel the same way I do. Is it the worth the long hours, pay cut, and long term uncertainly? You bet it is!
But going all out doesn’t mean you have to join a start-up! I see tons of awesome people like Jenny Blake, Ryan Graves, and Steve Boese using their talent and passion to push themselves forward every day. Learning, sharing, and growing in their respective fields.
Since Priemerization is all about making tough decisions and introspection, ask yourself this:
when the final buzzer goes, do you want to be the one saying I should have fought harder for the puck, been stronger in the corners, or taken the shot when I had the chance?
Think of one small thing you can do each day to take YOUR game to the next level.
Be a super hero.