There’s a fine line between being good at what you do and being great. In all walks of life we have the choice to be just good or great.
What do you do for a living and are you passionate about what you’re doing? Whether your living the dream or dreaming of a dream job we are all presented with the opportunity of doing something great everyday. Doing great work doesn’t start with your dream job.
Adulation and fame are markers of great work to a certain extent. However, despite what popular culture would have us believe and what you do not see are the days, months, and years of great work that went unreported or awarded.
An Olympian doesn’t just become a gold medal winner. An Olympian trained thousands of days when eyes weren’t watching and that gold medal winner made the right choices moment by moment. For example, Michael Phelps is the winningest Olympian in history. His focus and drive helped him to endure many different trials on the path to success and we are no different though that’s not the entire story.
So there are athletes, thinkers, politicians, carpenters, doctors, lawyers, you name the trade and you will find those that do good work and great work. The line is so thin but it’s worth noting and talking about. Because at the end of the day it is important to do great work even when you don’t get awarded.
As designers we fall into differing dream jobs and work ethic habits. Some designers are famous, work 6 months out of the year, and surf for the rest. He’s got plenty of Addy’s and an attitude to boot. I thought to myself early in my design career, I want to be just like David Carson. He may be easy to work with or not, but in this example he is driven and detail oriented.
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” -Ernest Hemingway
Details are the difference between good and great. Details matter. As designers we should endeavor to understand the smallest of details and apply this understanding to projects everyday even at a job that isn’t your dream job. Everyday we should push when there’s nothing left. We should work with clients to help them understand technology, not just sell them something they don’t understand and make the complicated simple.
Call it going above and beyond or taking care of the little things. In life we have good professionals and then we have great professionals. The difference between the two are the details that great professionals unselfishly draw upon day after day. I have read many times on websites bullet pointed the phrase “attention to detail”. It’s not just a bullet point. I get it. This phrase is the exact difference from being just good at what you do or great at what you do. The choice to be good or great is yours every morning whether you’re flipping burgers or building the next best website. Be great.