I had a dream last night where I rang up Per Mertesacker and asked him for a loan so that I could travel to unexplored lands and open a new ‘super-pub’ that has all the characteristics that make pubs great and none of the ones that make them not so great. Like the food would be home-cooked and served on plates, rather than those chopping boards that everybody seems so fond of nowadays. And alcohol would be reasonably priced (I paid £5.10 for a bottle of Corona the other day…madness!), and there would be a large selection of well-kept real ales, and the lighting would set the tone perfectly, not overly bright & not too dark, and the staff would know everyone on a first name basis…Anyway, Per told me that he had to ask Sir Alex Ferguson if it was alright, but Sir Alex just yelled “How can you have any pudding, if you don’t eat your meat?” and hung up.
Now this didn’t quite make sense to me, I was seriously confused as to why Sir Alex was shouting the close of one of Pink Floyd’s most loved songs at me. Did he know that I’m a fellow fan? Was he just having a bad day?? Maybe he also fell asleep listening to Another Brick in The Wall after a night at the pub, and was having a crazy dream??? (Note: I decided to just overlook the part where Per Mertesacker had to ask Sir Alex Ferguson if it was alright for me to have a loan, otherwise my mind would have just exploded). So I decided to look behind what Sir Alex was saying - What was he REALLY saying?
Well, it’s pretty obvious really. You can’t reap any rewards until you have success - “But how does one measure success?” I hear you ask. Well, aside from whipping out my success measuring tape and sizing you up (like an old school headmaster fixated on making sure the length of your tie on your school uniform adheres to the regulation length, as set out in the school’s ‘Code of Conduct’), I can offer my opinion on what success actually is and how to achieve it. To speak plainly, I believe that true success is based around consistently performing to a very high standard in one environment, where you can continually up your game, time & time again. I think too many people achieve something really great, but then sit back and point to their achievements & what they’ve done in the past, without really moving forward and testing the boundaries. This can quite clearly not only lead to complacency, but especially in 2014, can lead to you becoming obsolete before your time. It’s SOOOOO important to make sure you recognise the grind & dedication that you put in to achieve what you have, and be prepared to put that level of work in again & again. Consistently. The way I like to think of it is that there is no such thing as having done well, because achieving a milestone is just something you should be doing to get to the next level. To quote a certain Italian striker with a fondness for controversy (I’ll give you a clue – his name starts with M and ends with ario Balotelli) - "When I score, I don't celebrate because it's my job. When a postman delivers letters, does he celebrate?”
Plus it goes without saying, if you insist you’re great by sitting back and pointing at what you've done in the past, you’re at SERIOUS risk of becoming a Leeds United fan. Just kidding…I love Leeds…my mum’s from Leeds…honestly….*edges nervously out of the room*
One thing I’d like to draw attention to is high performance in a single environment. There has been a lot of noise recently that people should on average seek to change jobs every 3-5 years (or even sooner) to keep themselves ‘relevant’ and ‘fresh’. To that I say NO. Aside from the fact that ‘relevant’ and ‘fresh’ are just buzzwords that people throw around, like ‘big data’ and ‘cloud solutions’ and ‘get away from me crazy!’ (I get that one a lot), the idea of changing environments for the sake of changing environments is weird. Be prepared to get stuck in, work beyond your remit and figure out ways to push yourself onto bigger and bigger things.
Because throwing a television out of a Marriott window doesn't make you a rock star, the same way getting a “well done” from your boss doesn't make you a success.