What’s one feature that nearly everyone loves about a new car? The smell! We even call that distinct scent “that new car smell.” It’s hard to describe, but we know it when we smell it! It’s crisp, clean, and fresh. Just the smell alone of a new car makes us work to meticulously keep it neat and clean.
However, after a few months, the newness of that new car slowly wears off. That great clean smell starts to fade along with our persistence in keeping that new car feeling. We quit washing and vacuuming it so often, and we lose our diligence in picking up trash from the floorboard. Over time that new car starts feeling kind of old, and we find ourselves admiring those shiny new cars in dealership parking lots.
It can be the same with jobs, can’t it? When we first start a new job, it’s exciting, and we are very careful to take care of our new position and our projects. We get to work early and finish projects early. We ensure even the tiniest details are correct. We are willing to help wherever we’re needed. We want to do a good job, and we are eager to please our new customers, our new teammates, and our new boss. We’ve got hustle!
Yet after six months, we find ourselves relaxing a bit. We notice that arriving five or 10 minutes late doesn’t seem to be a big deal, so we stop worrying about getting to work early. We start to let the little things slide, and we avoid volunteering to help out on after-hours projects. We quit trying so hard to be great because we realize that good is good enough.
The problem with a “good enough” mindset is that it keeps us from achieving great! After several months or several years in your role, are you settling for good enough, or do you still have the new job hustle? Here are five questions to answer:
- Has your attention to detail or commitment to excellence with your work become more relaxed over the past several months/years? How so?
- Do you consistently arrive to work a little late or leave a little early or take slightly longer lunches?
- If you suddenly didn’t work at your company any longer, would the team and the company still achieve its goals? Would your absence be felt within the organization or would you be easily replaced?
- Are you as eager to learn more in your role as you were on day one? Why or why not?
- Do you rely on your boss, customers, or coworkers to hold you accountable for deadlines and follow up, or do you proactively do that yourself?
It is human nature for us to get complacent as we get comfortable. We must be disciplined to keep the standards high and stay motivated to achieve excellence. Remember who your employer hired…that enthusiastic, energetic person who couldn’t wait to make a significant difference inside the organization. Do your best to continue to be that person every single day.