5 min read

Increase Your Value Through Quality

Increase Your Value Through Quality

For just a few moments, imagine yourself in a work scenario that brings you very little joy. Whether you initially took this work on in this joyless state or not, can you see yourself merely going through the motions? Because you are disengaged and unfulfilled in this work, time seems to drag on at the pace of a tortoise. You watch the clock, you yawn, you are no doubt very frustrated, you may be thinking how much you hate what you are doing; perhaps you are procrastinating, allowing yourself to be distracted by some other menial task just to delay the inevitable. In this moment you’re also nurturing feelings around seeing yourself anywhere but where you are, which barely provide relief. If you take a step back and examine this work scenario, you may come to realize that you’ve allowed yourself to drift into this state of joylessness; you’ve also allowed the quality of your work to slip into shoddiness.

There is much to unpack when considering the above. I’ve experienced work situations like this and the accompanying feelings on more than one occasion and I have no doubt that you have as well. Maybe you are struggling in a work situation that mirrors the above right now.  This is a perfect example of living out of alignment.

Misalignment takes us by the hand and leads us right into work situations like this.  You could ask yourself…

How did I get here? Why am I engaged in joyless, unfulfilling work? Why haven’t I asked for what I want? What am I afraid of? Why am I frittering away valuable time in this work situation that could be used to engage in work that is satisfying and fulfilling? Why have I compromised my integrity and drifted into a state of producing inferior, less than quality work?

Our first response could be, “Because I have no choice.” Is this true? We may not like our options, but we always have a choice, right? Perhaps we could then ask the questions, “Why have I created this situation for myself”? and “How can I create a new situation where I am more engaged in my work”?

It seems evident that we allow ourselves to drift into these situations. By succumbing to fear, failing to ask for what we want, and perhaps not even having real clarity around what we want we find ourselves stuck in a place where we do not want to be.

So, what is your ideal work situation? What type of work or activity would you like to engage in that brings joy and true fulfillment? Think about it! Visualize yourself in this kind of situation. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Continue to plant those seeds of thought and see yourself in that situation.

I've experienced clients who really struggle with imagining their ideal work situation for a variety of reasons. If you have a challenge with imagining it, try writing down the opposite of what you're experiencing. In other words, jot down what you'd like to experience, where you'd like to experience, how you'd like to feel.

In the meantime, if you find yourself currently in an unpleasant work situation, what can you do while creating a better situation? In the scenario above, it was suggested that perhaps the quality of your work had slipped into shoddiness. This is typical. When we find ourselves in unpleasant situations, there is very little motivation to give our best. But isn’t it in giving our best that we feel more motivated?

Is it possible to pour your heart into what you are tasked to accomplish, giving it your best effort, which in turn may motivate you and create a better current situation? Is this easy to do, not at all. It will take effort but this effort, in time, could reap rich rewards. Know that pouring quality into your work is about you - it’s not about the work, or the employer, or the work environment, or the company, it’s about you.

There is a wonder-filled essay on this very subject in Og Mandino’s *University of Success.  The lesson is titled, How To Increase Your Value, which is an excerpt from Orison Swett Marden, America's first popular writer on the subject of success. Originally published in 1894, it was titled, Pushing to the Front.

Below are a few quotes from this work...

“Most people think too much of quantity, and too little of quality in their work.  They try to do too much, and do not do it well. They do not realize that the education, the comfort, the satisfaction, the general improvement, and bracing up of the whole [person] that comes from doing one thing absolutely right from putting the trademark of one’s character on it, far outweighs the value that attaches to the doing of a thousand botched or slipshod jobs.”

Something to think about, huh?  But, for me, here is the gist of this lesson…

“We are so constituted that the quality which we put into our lifework affects everything else in our lives, and tends to bring our whole conduct to the same level. The entire person takes on the characteristics of one’s usual way of doing things. The habit of precision and accuracy strengthens the mentality, improves the whole character. On the contrary, doing things in a loose-jointed, slipshod, careless manner deteriorates the whole mentality, demoralizes the mental processes, and pulls down the whole life.”

When I first read this, I had to go back and reread it a few times and really allow this to soak in.  Can we deny the truth of these words?  I couldn’t. I had an “aha” moment.

Delivering quality is about me, it’s about you!  Everything in our lives is affected by the quality we put into our work.

Here are a few other excerpts from this thought-provoking essay…

“’What a fool you are,’ said one [employee] to another, ‘to take so much pains with that job, when you don’t get much pay for it. “Get the most money for the least work,” is my rule, and I get twice as much money as you do.”  “That may be,” replied the other, “but I shall like myself better, I shall think more of myself, and that is more important to me than money.”

Isn’t this true that how we view ourselves is tied to the quality of work we produce?

“Perfect work harmonizes with the very principles of our being, because we were made for perfection. It fits our very natures.”

Personally, I would replace "perfect/perfection" with "excellent/excellence" (perfection is an illusion) and the point is still clear. Isn’t this true that quality work is intricately tied into who we are being?

“No one can be really happy who does not believe in his own honesty. We are so constituted that every departure from the right, from principle, causes loss of self-respect and makes us unhappy.”

Isn’t it true that our happiness and self-respect are tied into the quality of our work?

“When we are trying with all our might to do our level best, our whole nature improves. Everything looks down when we are going downhill. Aspiration lifts the life; groveling lowers it.”

Do you agree that our entire outlook on life can shift based on the level of quality we infuse into our work?

There is much to glean here and I will leave it up to you to mentally munch on these words.  I’d like to close with one additional quote from this lesson.

“There is everything in holding a high ideal of your work; for whatever model the mind holds, the life copies. Whatever your vocation, let quality be your life-slogan.”

Whether we are in an unpleasant work situation, fully engaged in a work situation that brings joy and is truly fulfilling, or in a work situation that falls somewhere in between, wouldn’t it be cool, to make our life slogan “QUALITY”?!? Imagine the shift that could occur in the world if we all embraced this slogan.

*I have derived such pleasure reading Og Mandino’s “University of Success,” a collection of essays published in 1982 that highlights themes related to success.  Written using the university structures of semesters and lessons, from a variety of contributors, with perspectives on success lifted from the 50s, 60s and 70s, these insights, although dated, still give us much to ponder as we revisit these same challenges in a new work landscape. They challenge me to reconsider our relationship with work and success today.