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Sometimes things really are that simple

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Do your best when no one is looking”

Many things in life are complicated, and this seems to be more the case every day. But sometimes, we make things more complex then they need to be, to our peril.

I have often been asked what it takes to be a success in a job. After much consideration, I came up with a fairly simple answer. Now that it has been tested for a few years, I am quite confident in the validity of this advice.

There are only three main ingredients to success on the job, I suggest. They are show up, have a good attitude, and do your best.

Show up

Having run quite a few businesses, and known many business managers, it is quite safe to say that simply showing up on time is a huge advantage. The stories I have been told in an attempt to excuse tardiness or absences could fill a book. But the person that shows up on time every time will be a hero.

Have a good attitude

Most businesses have both of these types of people: the person that complains non-stop, tells rumors, reluctantly does their job, and side-steps special assignments; and the person that walks in with a smile on their face, greets others, thanks their supervisor for special assignments, and takes redirection well. 

Which do you think will be considered for the next promotion? A good attitude can even trump better technical abilities.

Do your best

A successful person will always do their best, even when others will not see the work. Less successful people will try to just get by, hoping they won’t get caught. And when caught, they complain. A less competent employee that does their best is more valuable than a highly competent employee that doesn’t perform to their potential.

Watch for these traits in others, and you likely find successful people. Set these traits as expectations for yourself, and you will reap the rewards your whole career.


Dave Bartholomew is the founder of Ascent Advising LLC, working with “corner office” people around the globe to define and achieve their unique definition of success. He and is wife, Nancy, co-founded Simply Living Farm, a shop in Leavenworth providing goods for a sustainable life. He can be reached at Dave@AscentAdvising.com.