When Abraham Lincoln spoke this now famous statement 150 years ago, was he intending it to be great business advice?
“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
When I coach people, regardless of age, gender, experience, or field, the subject of making themselves invaluable comes up quite often. And when it does I often think of this quote (which is framed and front and center on my desk.) If you want to be invaluable, if you want to be respected, sought after, known for your abilities and quality, and if you want to be the best person you can be in your personal life, you will want to incorporate this thinking into your life.
Here are 3 suggested ways to turn this into action:
- The first, and most obvious is to always do your best. Don’t skimp or take short-cuts. They will be noticed. You’ve all probably heard the saying “anything worth doing is worth doing right.” If you do your best, your work will speak for itself.
- Rarely is it only the actual result that matters. Did you take initiative? Did you ask questions and think it all the way through? When faced with roadblocks, did you throw your hands up or find a way around? How you applied yourself, and the effort you put into what you did will speak volumes. Even if you fall short, your actions will be noticed and you will be viewed as trustworthy and invaluable.
- Details do matter. Doing your very best means down to the details. You can create a fabulous piece of work, but if there are mistakes or typos, it will diminish the effectiveness and appearance of your work and cast doubt upon your qualifications. Leave time to check your work and turn in the best work product you can. If you turn in shoddy work, someone else has to expend energy fixing your mistakes which will not only frustrate them, but reflect poorly on you and likely cause them to seek more reliable help elsewhere.
And as Lincoln said, if your efforts prove to be right, then the naysayers will be discounted and proven wrong in their opinion of you. But if your efforts prove to be wrong, you will at least have earned the respect you deserve for the effort you put in. And you can hold your head up high knowing that people will trust your efforts and find you invaluable in building their team.