Most times in life, the differences between passable and excellence, between satisfactory and brilliance are slim; they’re in no way correlated to the seeming gap between them. You will be able to think of many times when someone did their job seemingly on a different level and it contributed to your experience; maybe the check out girl, the bus driver, the plumber or whoever. What did they do that made such a difference? What was it that made them come to work a little earlier so they hit the ground running? They were not just a slot filler…they had drive and purpose. I’ve recently reviewed a restaurant we love in the Lake District and it was just that that I underlined; the ingenious menus and the go-one-step-further service level. It seems unfortunate that the service sector is frequently populated by those who display little or no service capability.

I’m currently painting park benches……well, someone’s got to do it. And I’ve been drawn to the inscriptions that many of them carry. You know the sort of thing; “Harry and Gladys loved this view ” etc etc. And in most cases there are the years of birth and death in the inscription. I remember hearing an amazing presentation by a much loved pastor entitled “Life in the dash” which was a reference to such an inscription; all of our life is carried in the dash….that instrument of grammar which is between the years of birth and death. Everything you do is encapsulated within that short line….the hyphen. So if you’re constantly listening for the Fat Lady singing to signify the end of your responsibility, the end of your day, that will carry into what other people see as your dash. Your drive, or lack of it, is carried into your dash; your passion, or lack of it, is there; your compassion, your smile, your input…..all there too.

You choose your way and only you; but I know that if you have that “extra mile” syndrome and the ability to ignore those who are the Fat Lady Fan Club, your customers, your colleagues will be enthused by an extraordinary performance on your part that WILL bring countless rewards.