So this week I’m thinking and talking about what many of us call “everyday life” otherwise known as the ”hum drum” or “drudgery” that represents the ticking of the clock for each of our days. I was out this weekend with some friends and the conversation turned to “how do we handle the mundane”? A direct inspiration from a colleague John Terry who’s calling himself a “Dream Enabler”, he’s headed fresh into the Community Psych Ph.D. program here at USC in the fall and I’m sure has many dreams in his future to facilitate. It got me thinking though about all of this. Both professionally and personally. As a program evaluator there are often many unseen, unspoken events that occur during all hours of days and nights while working on projects. It is not necessary that I articulate them all, that is not the point here, but what is necessary is that I do my very best work on the tiny unspoken spots as equally as I do in the more public often “sexier” parts of my job.
When I am writing up the evaluation chart for that grant project do I make sure all of the formatting is precisely as it should be or do I overlook a stray bullet point? I think these types of questions are more meaningful than just crossing t’s and dotting i’s. I think it speaks to our character when we approach grocery shopping with the same care and concern that we approach a report to the feds. It is the mundane, often unseen, events in our lives that can truly make or break things. A while back I wrote on how the devil is in the details (go back and see it if you missed it) and I am circling that concept here now, but more from a philosophical perspective. How do you view the mundane? Is it simply the tasks that we must accomplish in order to reach the end of our days, or are the mundane activities actually opportunities for me to perfect some minuscule task? Is it a space for me to shine in some small way? Or is it possibly a space for me to ask for help from someone else? Maybe empowering someone to do something that he/she might in fact not ever refer to my boring task as mundane?
What is your perspective on the mundane details of your life and work? That perspective will be influencing the larger more visible aspects much more than you can possibly imagine. Today I want you to simply look at how you approach these little, sometimes annoying, and often time boring tasks of your life today and see if you can notice how you approach them. More later…enjoy your Monday.
This cannot be emphasized enough. So many times I find, myself included, that we as leaders are focused on the big picture visions. Working on leading our followers toward some grand end. This is absolutely a part of who we are and what we do as leaders, but if we do this work at the expense of the details all is for naught. It is our responsibility as leaders to ensure, either by doing it ourselves or making sure our top type A detail person is doing it, that every detail is attended to. I’ve just been reflecting this week on leadership across a wide sector of areas and realized that the demise of most leaders, sports figures included, can be directly related to a small detail overlooked or unattended. Today I’m reminding my leaders out there to make sure that the smallest details are covered. These are often petty, boring, and quite mindless to attend to, but are absolutely critical to the success or failure of any project. I have a good friend whose working on an engineering degree and was watching him yesterday working on an assignment meticulously constructing a structure so that it will hold the level of load that it must in order to function as intended. It is those minute details, both actually and metaphorically, that can make or break our projects, our buildings, our businesses, and even our own lives if not handled properly. Handle your details today!!! And have a great weekend.