Think about the best things you’ve ever done in your life. The best story you ever wrote. The best painting you ever painted. The best cake you ever baked. Heck, maybe it’s the best car you ever washed.
Most of these efforts started out the same way. You set an intended goal, and then you went about the business of completing the task — story written, painting painted and cake baked.
You have to wonder how many people sit down in the beginning stages of their projects and say to themselves that, “This widget is going to be the best gizmo I ever made,” or, “Today I’m going to take a photograph that will make history.”
My guess is that there is a lot of serendipity, determination and just dumb luck that goes into achieving greatness. If greatness is your goal, you’ll probably never get there. It’s sort of like the modern day myth that bosses have when they tell their social media folks to, “Make me something that will go viral.” Lots of luck with that.
I can hear the voices across the ages, “Yeah, Michelangelo, about that David thingy. I know it’s just a hunk of rock right now, but when it’s done, be sure it’s the best statue — ever. No pressure. Love ya. Let’s do lunch.”
So lately I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on a blog post I did more than six months ago for my personal runner’s blog site. The subject? The dreaded colonoscopy.
It seems my timing was just right. I scheduled my big scope for Spring Break week. Mainly, because my school teacher wife was off work, and I needed someone to get me to and from the big event. I know you’re thinking it, “What a lucky girl.”
But, like any good blogger, I chose to write about the event — with a touch of humor, of course. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of this life-changing event, it starts the day before when you consume something called MoviPrep, which I found out has little to do with a trip to the local Cineplex, HBO, Showtime or even Netflix.
It does, however, have to do with consuming an atomic-powered laxative that tastes like lemon Pledge gone wild and then, well, you get the picture. Suffice to say that you’re ready for the big event once you’ve spent the night chugging MoviPrep. Talk about breaking bad.
The thing is, I must have hit some sort of blogging nirvana. It took a while, but for the past few weeks I’ve been receiving a steady stream of emails telling me how great the post was. And how more people should write stuff about the topic.
And the praise goes on. Not on and on, but on.
Is this my best work? Was Miley Cyrus born to go sans clothing on a wrecking ball? If you ask me, I’d have to honestly say, not so much. But my point is you need to be ready for greatness in whatever you do, especially in things that go out into the world such as resumes, online portfolios and blog posts.
You never know when a resume you sent out is going to land on a prospective hiring manager’s desk. Ask yourself, “Did I do something to make myself stand out from the crowd, or did I ‘mail it in?’ Was everything correct, or did I have spelling errors and typos that will get me kicked out of the competition before I even get started?”
I’m not the first one to write humorously about colonoscopies, and I guarantee you I won’t be the last. But I did hit some sort of slipstream in the Internet that gave my post a little life recently, so I’m going to ride the wave and accept the praise that has been sent my way.
My takeaway for you from all of this is to be ready for when greatness comes knocking because you never know when or where it will come from. If you’re applying for a job, be thorough and accurate in your work, so that you don’t eliminate yourself before the competition even begins.
The power of the slipstream cannot be underestimated! Check out how Emma Still wrote a blog that went viral and landed her a job. For more coincidence, serendipity and magic, meet Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle— an amazing recycling business with a global presence.