Adapted from The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work For You!

Living your life in an evergreen way means that you are always growing and enjoying the fruits of all that you have learned and do. Continual learning can bring joy and fulfillment to your work and your personal life. If you choose to live this way, as I do, you must eliminate the reasons to focus on the why nots, and become responsible for the how to’sYou can gauge how successful you are at this by looking at where you are right now in your life.

I recall a time when my team and I received an opportunity to meet with a client in the position to award us a lot of business. As is often the case, the client required that we fly across the country on a two-day notice. So we prepared everything we would need that we planned on handing out to that company’s executives during our presentation. one of our office assistants mailed the materials to our branch office that was local to the customer, so that we would not need to pack and carry them on the plane with us. The books were delivered to our branch office, but in terrible condition. Some fluid had seeped into the packaging the shipping company had used, various pages of the books were stained, and several were completely damaged.

We mustered up the guts to explain the situation on to this potential customer, and were told to start our presentation.

Three other companies had presented before us, and each of us had received the same instructions from this customer: provide written answers to specific questions in a separate section behind any information we chose to provide describing what we offered. our binders were in tatters, and many areas of the answer section were impossible to read. However, my team and I did know the answers intimately, and were able to deliver the customer, in detail, exactly what they needed to hear. We were well into this part of the three-hour presentation when our local branch manager arrived with newly printed binders that she was able to print at Kinko’s after our corporate office assistant had emailed her the content. Although this was an expense we had not planned on, it was a wise investment this late in the game.

As the associates were handed the freshly printed binders, they were visibly impressed with the work we had put into following their instructions and the creative approach we had given to solving their need. However, they were most appreciative of the fact that we had provided them, to a word and number, the same information in our oral response that our binders now supported in writing. They knew we were intimately engaged and competent to deliver them results, and that the late-delivered documents and scripts were not a reason to slack on delivering them the results they needed.

The fact is, I have never believed there is a reason good enough not to deliver a result you have promised. Sometimes, you are going to have legitimate situations that you cannot control, but you can always be prepared with your own knowledge to support you. As you live your life, whether at work, at home, or in your community, you have an obligation to know the difference between what really matters in the grand scheme of life, and what doesn’t.