Treat each workday as Day 1

Philosophy

Make sure every day at work feels like Day 1. Do you remember your first day at your first job? Sure, you were nervous. But part of you was excited. Excited about doing everything in your power to delight your new boss, coworkers, customers. Excited about doing the best work of your life.

Inspired by: Jeff Bezos, Letter to Amazon Shareholders (2016)

Reflection

What a refreshing, energising way to approach your working day. It’s a 180 from how I’d imagine most people see their work or careers, especially after a long time slogging away. But I also wondered for a while if Day 1 thinking is sustainable.

Jeff Bezos seems to think it’s crucial to keep the Day 1 momentum alive. To him, letting your mind slip into Day 2 is a no-no. Here’s a summary of his thoughts on Day 2:

  • Day 2 means stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Following by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death.
  • High-quality decisions, but too slow. The world’s moving at lightspeed, so teams and organisations need to make high-quality and high-velocity calls.
  • Decline in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

So how could we maintain a Day 1 mindset day-in-day-out? Mr Bezos suggests complete, utter customer-centricity. Focus on what you can do next to wow an always curious and dissatisfied customer.

I’ve thought of another way – map out your work as a short-, medium- and long-term outlook. What do you expect from your immediate work? How do you see yourself working in the future? Your answer should not be “the same as today”.

Develop a vision for where you want to head and couple that with patient experimentation, accept failures in the learning process and double down when you see real progress.