How outstanding leaders think about their work

I once heard a senior leader in my organisation speak about jobs. No….it wasn’t another one of those speeches extolling the virtues of the founder of Apple (isn’t that what you thought when you heard Jobs?) Instead, he was sharing some wisdom on the nature of the jobs we all are in.



Here’s what he said- “Each one of us has 2 jobs when we come to work every day”.

“Our first job is to do our job”.

“And the 2nd job is to get better at doing our jobs every day.”


(I think he was probably quoting someone famous on this)

I wonder how many people even give a moment’s thought to the rigmarole they subject themselves to day in and day out. Do we spare a thought about that aspect of our lives called ‘job/ work’ where we spend one-thirds (or more) of our time? Or are we just going thru the motions like engines churning out the bare minimum output to justify the job description and draw a salary?

If you aspire to be world-class in your field,  really start getting this mindset of the 2 jobs. Here’s how:

Doing the job

By understanding what my critical deliverables are. What are the main responsibilities I am entrusted with? How does that fit into the whole function of the organization? What’s the impact of my role?

Once I understand this, I must then deliver on those functions at a time and in a manner that creates excellent results for the organization.

Here’s the thing- every job description is an expectation laid out by the organization, and every job undertaken is a promise made to the job description.

 Getting better at doing the job

By continuously adding value to the functions I am entrusted with. Am I learning better and more efficient ways to carry out my role? Am I developing my skills so that my roles and goals can expand? Am I devoted to getting to mastery in my craft?

I know a very successful surgeon who lives by the credo of becoming 3% better today than he was yesterday. That means, every day, intentionally, he does a few things that will make push his skills and expertise 3% higher. And he does that by either reading articles or books in his field or trying out some new surgical techniques he learnt or by attending seminars, workshops or conferences that give him new knowledge.


The ‘2 Jobs’ thinking is a beautiful mindset. One that very few exhibit, but everyone can adopt.

Do you know what your 2 jobs are?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *