A dear friend of mine recently said something that made me stop and think. She said "Andrew the thing I admire about you the most is that everything you do, you do at one hundred percent. You never half turn up, you never give half of your attention to the person in front of you, you step up all of the time and lead from the front.".
This was a lovely compliment and upon reflection, it is completely true. It isn't something I think about a lot, I just do it, it's my nature, my personality, my approach to life, and I certainly haven't been like this all of my life. Today if I can't turn up at one hundred percent, I would rather not turn up at all. This applies to my work, my relationships, my life in general.
That said, learning to master your own state of mind, your own attitude and the way you approach life, certainly leads to many great things. People want to work with you, you build a very solid reputation for being a person who brings their best game to everything they do and you have a great sense of personal pride in what you do.
To be honest, I'm really proud of myself for turning up at one hundred percent in everything I do. And I can't imagine ever doing anything less. Having others notice that, and comment on it, for many years, encourages me to keep doing it and to never accept any less in the way I act and my approach to life.
So how do you turn up at one hundred percent for everything? I'm not sure I can provide the absolute answer for everyone, but I can certainly share what I do to try and achieve this as much as I can.
1. I focus completely on the task at hand, the person in front of me, the situation at hand. This means being fully present, fully engaged and fully respectful. That kind of focus is rare these days and I think it requires us to relearn the ability.
2. If for some reason I can't turn up at one hundred percent, I apologize and withdraw from the situation and commit to regrouping and completing the task at hand at some agreed to time in the future. Now there are reasons why I might not turn up at full capacity, I might be worried about something significant or I might be unwell. What I'm trying to say is that I respect myself enough to be OK if for some reason I'm not in the right state of mind to turn up, but I also give myself a long talking to, just to make sure it doesn't become a habit.
3. Sometimes a meeting I'm supposed to attend doesn't feel right, making it hard to turn up at one hundred percent. I try to get to the bottom of what the issue is and most of the time, it's simply the fact that I haven't got all of the information I need at that moment in time to be fully engaged. So for me, uncertainty tells me to get more information. Once I'm across everything I need to be across, it's easy to bring my "A" game.
4. I can't fake passion. I need to get passionate about something to turn up at one hundred percent. I understand this can be hard, but I find that if you hunt hard enough, you can always find something to be passionate about, it might not be what the meeting is about, but perhaps the fact that you are helping others to solve their problems is what fires you up. Look beyond the immediate things in front of you and you might find your passion, which in turn lets you turn up at one hundred percent.
5. I've spent a lot of time over many years, working to put myself in the shoes of others. I try to always be completely empathetic of those people I'm working with and those people in my life in general. This takes conscious thinking, literally pausing before going into a meeting or making a call, or even sending an email, to stop and actually think about what is happening from the other person's perspective.
My life is certainly much better with this approach to everything I do. I think that we can all learn to turn up at one hundred percent for the vast majority of things that we do in life, it starts with deciding that this is how we want to live our life. I do, do you?