You don't have to be that good...
Just better than everyone else. There’s an old joke that goes something like; what do you do when you and your mate are confronted with a lion? Run faster than your mate. The point being, you don’t have to be Usain Bolt - just fast enough that the lion catches your mate instead of you.
This came to mind yesterday when I discovered punctuality is dead. I had two professional appointments. I arrived 10 minutes early for the first, and while in the waiting room, I was answering email. Suddenly, I realised 20 minutes had gone past. It was already 10 past the hour. I knocked a couple of times, got no answer and left. She left a voicemail and when I called back, I said I didn’t understand how I could have missed her. Oh, she said, I got there at 12 minutes past.
At 5.30 I was at home ready for the second person to call. I’d had to prepare for the visit, so I made sure to be done by 5.25. She turned up at 6.43. Her ‘apology’ was ‘I forgot’.
These are just two examples of a trend I’ve been seeing for months. We don’t have to go into why being late is rude. If all you are is punctual, you’re automatically way above average. You don’t have to be great. Be on time and apologise for not being, and you’re already way ahead of the curve.
If you keep your promises, answer your email and rarely lose things, you’re more professional than the majority. If you just communicate, you’re ahead of the curve. Be consistent in the small things. Being great isn’t difficult, sadly, because average is such a low standard.