If you watch the news or live in the Garden State like I do, you’ll know we just got slammed, yet again, with another snowstorm. As I was huffing and puffing my way through shoveling our front walk I had a minor epiphany that is applicable to in-house designers and actually anyone who works in an organization.
Looking to my right, I saw the shoveling job my one less-than-civic-minded neighbor had done. It was passable, but he had basically done the bare minimum. To my left, I saw a pristine sidewalk with a path able to accommodate 2 people walking side-by-side created by my other neighbor. So, I had a ready-made rationalization that would permit me to rush through my assigned task or I could raise the bar and follow the example set by my high-achieving neighbor. In choosing the latter, I realized I often unconsciously measure my performance against the hyper-achievers (which has its good and bad side).
It’s known that from the third grade on, human beings become aware of their social environment and how they fit into it. As designers working in the larger social network that we call a company, we have plenty of opportunities to compare ourselves to others. We can either choose to emulate those who just get by and make our work lives easier but less successful and fulfilling, or we can look to those whose commitment to excellence, no matter what position they’re in, will bring out the best in us.
It’s always our choice.