The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
AS a consultant I travel frequently. On one of my trips, I had just finished the immigration formalities at O. R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, and decided to visit the bathroom. Stepping into the freshly cleaned bathroom, a middle-aged gentleman beamed with the smile of a prince and boomed with pride: “Welcome to my office.”
I was stunned and my attention was hooked. At first I was taken a little aback, but as I walked away from that bathroom, I was impressed by this man’s noble attitude and enlightened view of his otherwise mundane and boring work.
In all the bathrooms that I have visited everywhere I have been, no one has ever welcomed me in this way. From that day, the mantra: “Welcome to my office” started ringing in my head on auto-play, ever so much louder.
Many people think that their egos are tied to their social status and the work they do. They hate and despise the menial tasks of today, hoping to do with pride the great work of tomorrow. No nation that scoffs at work could ever become great. Well, my bathroom friend showed me otherwise. My work is a portrait of who I am. Every day, I have a choice, to look at my work as drudgery and to hate being at work, or to smile and realise that where ever I work, whatever I do regardless of how humble it is, IT IS MY OFFICE! My special office to show forth with pride.
Approach your work with the pride of an artist and the confidence of a master chef. No work is ever inferior, it is all just work. You are a sculptor and you shape your work, space and the people you are privileged to serve.
Approach whatever work you do with the pride of an accomplished artist commissioned to produce a masterpiece. You are working on a masterpiece, you are not ordinary and your work is not ordinary.
You do not need a Press review in order to know that you are special and your work makes a difference to someone. Your work is not plain ordinary mindless exertion but it is special in its own unique way. If you see this unique sliver you are destined for greatness. Offer value and think value because you are giving value to someone. Unless you can have pride in the work you are doing you may never taste greatness.
Many people are absent from this moment and they let precious opportunities slip by. They are busy dreaming of doing some grand work in some mythical future otherworldly grand stage. When you look into their eyes, they are distant, dreamy and doomed. They are far removed from the present moment, bored with their reality of today’s work and offering uninspired and uncommitted service. My bathroom friend taught me differently: be there and be present in your office, whatever its shape, type or location.
Whatever you do, give your best to this moment. Serve as though divinity and the heavenly host were your audience. What you are doing now is your brightly lit stage, your place to shine and deliver your polished act. Be present on the stage you are on or you may never be considered for another appearance anywhere.
Give your best energy to the task at hand, before you roam the bushes looking for a mythical greatness. Shower this moment with your attention. Execute your assignment with all your energy. Seize this moment and this day. This is your moment: un-lived, unequalled, unprecedented, uniquely yours. Yours to serve another and bless them with the fruit of your hands. Work executed with pride, presence and pure energy.
If you cannot clean a bathroom with pride, can you ever be considered to clean a palace? If you cannot excel in clerking, can you ever be considered for management? If you can’t lift that shovel with pride, could you ever be an architect of note? If you cannot hand to some a chisel could you ever be a sculptor yourself? All work has dignity. Everything you do is a seed. Plant it with pride, water it with presence and soon you will be shining and levelling in greatness. Work is your channel of elevation and blessing.
I once came across a statement that said that to attract attention you must either be best, first or different. Greatness favours those that pique other people’s positive interest. These are people who do things that arouse interest and attention. This is what my bathroom friend taught me: pique attention and you will get a handle on greatness. Whatever you do, do work that inspires someone to give you a healthy tip and pay you double for your trouble.
I am not advocating that you should be a vain attention seeker. What I am advocating is making a difference and delivering the ordinary in a special way that is worth mention. Put a special touch to the ordinary and it will be extraordinary. Work on the work in front of you as though you are doing it for God. It is not the work which is boring, it is your attitude that is stinking!
Being bored is a choice, being boring is a lazy option you would have taken. Shower your space with creativity, pepper your work with imagination and do simple things with grace and style and you will be worth noting. Attention always makes a difference. Applied imagination always shows. Mindless attention to what you do is a sign of laziness. Raise your stakes. You do not need to do great things to be worthy of attention. You just need to do small things in great ways and you will be hard to ignore. Complaining and sulking at your work is no sign of intelligence or grace.
Whose interest have you piqued? My guess is that someone is mentioning your name right now. What do you think they are saying? Are you worth mentioning? Is your service worthy a testimony told a thousand times?
Go for greatness. This very moment, this ordinary work you are doing now could just be done in an extraordinary way. Stand up, shine and be counted. Be worth mentioning. It is simple to shine because excellence has few competitors. Do the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Say to someone today: welcome to my office! Perhaps that office is a desk, farm, pulpit, counter, garage, lab, canteen, workshop, kitchen, garden or bathroom. Whatever it is, make someone look forward to coming to your office and greatness will be knocking on your door so loudly that opportunity has to open wide for you.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international motivational and transformational speaker, author, strategy and innovation consultant, and leadership coach. His life purpose is to inspire people to release the greatness trapped in them. He can be reached at: [email protected]