2010 Career Challenge: G = Groundhog Day

By Skip Lineberg

Ever had one of those days where you just crushed it? When you were unstoppable?

I had one on Wednesday. Five important meetings. Five victories. Everything flowed. I was organized. I was focused and laser sharp. Felt amazing.

What made it such a great day? Was it luck … good fortune … karma? Nope. It was planning and preparation. Simply put, I had my $hit together. I had a good night’s sleep, which I seldom do. I made my To-Do list and prioritized it. I got to work early. I knew what to expect. I hit all my meetings and conference calls on time. Got all the boxes checked-off. Nothing magical – just good, solid planning and execution.

Now, here comes the insight.

When I woke up on Thursday, I reflected for a few moments on the great day before. What’s important, next, is what I did not do. I did not reward myself by sleeping in. I didn’t celebrate my excellent Wednesday performance with a leisurely breakfast at the diner, nor did I take an hour to goof off in any way. I didn’t boast of my accomplishments to my co-workers or post a cocky status update on Facebook. Sure, I thought about doing all of those things. But what I did, instead, was an exact repeat of the day before. I planned my day, created my To-Do list, prioritized it, got ready and headed straight back to the office.

In other words, I proceeded to excel again.

In essence, I pulled a “Groundhog Day.” (Short version of the 1993 film: a weatherman relives the same day over and over again. Disregard the fact that he’s having a bad day, and instead imagine that it’s you–and you’re having a great day.)

That’s the mark of a true professional. You bring your “A game.”

You finish your day in strong fashion. And then …. you wake up and do it all over again. So embrace the rhythm and consistency of maintained excellence. Embrace your Groundhog Day.

Note: This is Part 7 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

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