The concept of Leading A Signature Life isn’t my creation, in fact, it dates all the way back to when I was a young man in high school.
As a young teenager, my father asked me to go out and clean the Weber Grill for him. I’m sure you know the kind, the black circular grill that uses charcoal, and isn’t noted as being an easy clean grill by any means.
Being the typical teenager, I didn’t want to clean this grill. Why me? Why couldn’t he clean it since he’s the one that uses it? After some internal grumbling, I grabbed a bucket of soapy water and a scrub brush and went out to clean the grill.
I opened the lid and saw remnants of the last grilling session, literally cooked on the grill. So, I figured that I might as well get this over with and started scrubbing. After a few minutes, I looked at the grill, and although it wasn’t perfect, I thought it’d be good enough.
I went inside to let my Dad know that I was finished. He said, “It’s your best work?” I said yes, knowing that it wasn’t my best, “Ok, let’s go check it out”. I nervously walked out to the grill with him, hoping that it would be just good enough that I could continue on with what I wanted to do.
When he opened the lid, he said “This isn’t clean, look at that spot over there, and there…” and pointed out all of the places I thought he’d overlook. “Try again, Son”, he said with a bit of disappointment.
I thought to myself, “Ok, I’ll just scrub those spots he showed me, and it will be good enough”. So I did just that, the places he pointed out were now clean, he had to approve now right?
I went back inside and told my Dad that the grill was clean. He again asked if It was my best work, to which I said yes, so we headed outside. This time I was more confident, after all, I’d cleaned up all of the spots he told me to do. When he lifted the grill, he looked and said “This is your best work? What about this spot here, and over here”. Once again, he told me to try again.
I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me?!”, I cleaned everything he told me to. Frustrated I grabbed the scrub brush and started scrubbing that grill down, every stroke releasing a bit more of my frustration. I was so angry and scrubbing so hard and fast, I’m surprised that I didn’t catch the grill on fire.
I looked at the finished product and thought, “There is NOTHING on this grill now. There is no possible way he can say that it isn’t clean”. So in I go to tell my dad that it’s clean. He again asked if it was my best work. This time, I knew there was nothing he could point out, so I gave an emphatic Yes! Now was the test, we started walking outside.
The whole way walking to the grill I’m thinking that there is no way he can point anything out, and if he does he wants the impossible. I just know that that is the best I could do on that grill. The anticipation builds as he opens the lid.
“Now that’s a clean grill”! Relieved, I thought to myself, Finally! My dad looked at me and said, “Why didn’t you clean the grill like that the first time? Whenever you do something, and you say it’s complete, you’re saying that it’s your best work. You’re putting your signature on that work, showing that it’s the absolute best you can do”. Man, that had such an impact on me. Little did I know that those words would be the guidepost for my entire life
That carried over to when I had my son, Ryan. He was always a great student, and when he went off to college, I expected the same. If he came home with all A’s and one B, I’d ask him why he got a B. If he said that he forgot to study, or forgot assignments, I’d tell him that it’s completely unacceptable.
If he came home with all A’s and a C, I would ask him the same question. If he said “Dad, that was Spanish and I just really struggled with the class. I studied for 5 hours for the exam, got extra tutoring, and worked with the professor on trying to understand. I gave it my best effort”, then I’d tell him Great job son.
It’s not about being the best, or coming in first place. It’s about if you put in you absolute best effort. Are you putting out your best work, your best effort in life, all of the time? Are You Leading A Signature Life?
-Michael Monson, Founder & CEO