You’ve been given an unsavory assignment by your boss, which technically is her job to complete, and you’re a little less than enthusiastic about getting it done. You put it off for a couple of days to tackle your “real work,” intending to get back to it when you have a moment. A few days later, your boss stops by your desk and informs you that she urgently needs the report to be on her desk by 2:00 PM that day. It’s 11:30 AM. You begin working on it but slowly begin to realize that it is way more involved and detailed than you anticipated. You haphazardly scurry around and manage to throw something together that is sloppy and only half accurate —at best—and run to her office at 1:59 PM to try to hand it to her.
She grabs her blazer, breezes past you and tells you to just bring the report with you to the meeting—and then informs you that you will assist her in walking the senior staff through the report. Your heart sinks. Doom sets in, and you suddenly feel sick…
If only you had known that this report was so important, you would have not only put together a report that was polished and accurate, you would have also ensured that everything from the front cover of the report to the index was a phenomenal work of art.
And therein lies the solution… Always consider yourself a performer and your work an art form.
The performer’s mindset
Performers and artists are deeply connected to their art forms. Their primary goal is to capture the hearts of their audience members and to “wow” them. They expend copious amounts of energy and time producing a masterpiece for each and every one of their creations or performances. They are delicately intertwined in their work, and they take pride in pouring their heart and soul into each and every performance and creation. They are perfectionists.
Taking on a performer’s mindset benefits you in three distinct ways:
- It helps you to become mentally and emotionally engaged in what you are doing. This is so important to producing high-quality work for any purpose. You must be fully engaged and mentally and emotionally invested in what you are doing in order to really deliver. Consider an actor’s portrayal of a character. The actor sells the audience on the character by connecting to the character and essentially becoming who they are portraying. In that moment, they are the character. In order to connect to the mundane, everyday, run of the mill tasks associated with any job, being able to view yourself as a performer or an artist allows you to become fully present in what you are doing.
- It reminds you to always do your best. This is one lesson most of us learned early in life, and it is also the one lesson we abandoned the quickest as well. Doing your best all the time is tough. Envisioning yourself as a performer changes your mindset about your work. When you see yourself differently, you see what you do differently. There is a passion and pride that comes with performing and producing art. When you learn to summon that inner passion and pride, you take average, everyday tasks and turn them into the extraordinary. Your work stands out, and so do you.
- You become outcome-driven. When you think like a performer, you work to produce. You sacrifice and extend yourself for the sake of the art. You exist to create, and you are unsatisfied with mediocrity and with products that are merely passable. You take into account all aspects of the performance or artwork, from the overall aesthetics of the final presentation to the most minuscule of details, which most people will never see. You not only give your audience a work of art and a stellar performance, you give them you. Which is what they really want.