A friend of mine recently posted a photo on his Facebook wall that reminded me of something I try to live my life by: no matter what you do, there is a way to make what you do better. Essentially what he posted was a memo but it was one that was worth quite a bit of money.
You see this memo was written and signed by Walt Disney. Anything Disney, particularly something with his signature, is really valuable. Another friend of mine found a typewritten and mimeographed menu from the press day, held the day before grand opening at Disneyland, and sold this lowly piece of old paper for several thousand dollars on eBay.
Disney stuff of all sorts holds a lot of value. Perhaps it’s because of a value Walt instilled in the people around him. You see Walt Disney was famous for saying “plus it” which essentially meant that whatever you can do you can do better. Reach higher. Smile more broadly. Be better at customer service. Build a theme park that was great for all ages.
There are plenty of studies that show that people who work to continually improve at whatever they do tend to enjoy it more. Sometimes people are doing a job they might not otherwise like but if they work toward greater success, suddenly they enjoy it more.
We all can cite examples of people who clearly hate their jobs. We’ve encountered them at fast food places all the time. But then there are others who make the most of whatever they’re doing and those same people also work there. The difference is astounding.
To make myself better at what I do I listen to a lot of podcasts. I love podcasts and there are podcasts for just about any subject you can imagine. Of course there are plenty of podcasts about marketing but you can listen to just about any subject on earth.
I generally like to discover new podcasts and the best part is, it’s free! You can go to the iTunes store, for example, and browse for all sorts of topics. I usually download a few episodes and then see what I think. There are plenty of worthless podcasts but a lot of good ones as well. Listening to podcasts while doing otherwise-mindless chores or walking or bicycling is really enjoyable to me plus I go away having learned something.
One of my favorites are from TED. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
Speaking of learning something, I had someone comment about one of these Monday Morning Marketing articles and say that it seemed rushed. It was. So in the spirit of Walt Disney I have taken much more time with the subsequent articles and am working to always make them better. I really do appreciate your time and attention.
The bottom line is that if you continue to strive to be better at what you do, perhaps someday they’ll be selling your inter-office memos for thousands of dollars. Maybe not but it’s good to know that if you follow Disney’s “plus it” strategy it could make even a job that isn’t your favorite a little easier to tolerate. After all, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.