Best Foot Forward

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  Everyone I know has heard this expression before.  Whether you’re getting ready for an interview or a date, most people try to be on their P’s and Q’s when meeting someone for the first time.  Even for the first couple of times in a particular situation, we all try to make sure we have “our game faces on” so that our weaknesses are not shown.  The problem comes in once the honeymoon phase is over.  Once you have been at a job for a while, dated someone for a few months (years or weeks depending on the relationship) or have been a member of an organization for a little bit of time, the zeal and/or passion that you once had begins to fade.  You are no longer enamored by what first drew you to the situation.

For example, when I was dating someone, there were certain things I would do to make sure that I was always on the top of my game.  I bought little gifts, condo stayed clean (relatively), my dress was always on point.  After a while though, I started taking them for granted and being lazy in my overall approach to the relationship.  They always say “the same things you did to get her are the same things you’ll need to do to keep her”.

The same can be said for the professional world.  How many times did you complain about Mondays, or a crazy week, or looking forward to the weekend, when you first got a job?  Especially in this economy, most people are ecstatic to have job.  But before too long, you found yourself wanting to “call off” from work.  Take your lunch break and wish that you could extend it past your 30 minutes or hour.  

The truth of the matter is that when you first start something you are enthusiastic about the possibilities.  And when things start to become routine or commonplace, the luster begins to dull and you find yourself becoming bored with it, sometimes even resenting the very thing you yearned for, for so long.  Your “representative” stops showing up and the real you appears.  The difference between that person and you is the difference between success and failure.  And sometimes, it can be a very thin line.  As I grow, I have tried to minimize that difference, and to an extent, it has worked.  

I’m only 3+ years in as a husband, but me and my wife have been dating for over 7.  I admit, the “getting to know” phase of our relationship is very VERY small, but every now and again, I attempt to do something completely random (that I may or may not have done in the past) to keep her guessing.  I try to make sure that she’s never quite sure of what I’ll do next and that does help me.  But it can also be a let down if I don’t do anything at all too often.  So that helps me to stay on my toes as well.

The best thing to do, and the hardest sometimes, is to remember why you longed for that person/item and hold on to it.  And then imagine what you would do if they/it were no longer yours to have.  What if you lost your job, lost your loved one, no longer belonged to your organization?  Would you change?  Would your drive decline? Would you be a better or worse person?  If so, then you might want to do whatever it takes to make sure that it never happens.