The Secret We All Know About Quality

The journey to achieving high quality starts when a person decides they are someone who does things well and in a lasting way.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

I learned this lesson when I was a pizza maker. I usually did a good job, but one night was insanely busy. I was tired. When it came time to clean up, I just went through the motions. It was a half-assed job. The next day I was called on it. It felt terrible. It made me feel like I was low quality. On that day I realized that what I do reflects who I am and what I believe in. I decided that if my name was on something, I would give it my best.

Over the years, I’ve compromised quality for the crisis du jour a few times, and each time I relearn that people don’t remember the context of the work, but they do remember its quality. The work stands, but the context of its creation quickly fades.

Quality is a promise we make and keep for ourselves. It’s part of who we are and it’s visible in everything we touch.

How we do things becomes our legacy.

Feature image by: Cristian Bortes