A friend of mine often refers to me as “Martha”. When he does that, it’s said with a bit of a chuckle, but he means it as a true compliment. In his mind I seem to be a “Martha Stewart” of sorts. It does tickle me I have to admit.  Maybe it’s because I like to make homemade marsh mallows and hand cut them into heart shapes during the holidays.  Or perhaps it’s the fact that I just made salt-dough ornaments, cut them in animal shapes, painted them, personalized each one, tied them with big red ribbons then hung them on each of their office door knobs.  I don’t know, but in my friend’s mind, that calculates as a “Martha.”


You know, in a way, it shouldn’t be so odd.  Those little things that I like to do used to be pretty normal.  Girls learned those types of skills and crafts early in life and then added them into their own family traditions as they grew up.  Women were taught to cook and clean and sew and entertain.  Another friend of mine, who is in the food industry, recently told me that girls today don’t even know how to put out a cheese plate.   Hmmmmm. Really?


Now, before you think I am chiding your lifestyle (should you be the cake mix and take-out queen), hear me out.  There’s nothing wrong with convenience.  How do you think we got here?  Women ran to the nearest freezer section and stocked up when frozen pies hit the marketplace years ago. And too, who wouldn’t want a washer, dryer, and vacuum cleaner?!  These are all very good things.


What I am trying to say is, I personally feel that the real Martha Stewart got a bit of a bum rap in recent years. (And I don’t mean the stock tip incident).  People everywhere took shots at her for her amazing lifestyle and efforts.  Why?  Well, if you ask me, they were feeling awkward or a tad guilty and so they had to make her look bad. Or, at the least, tease her and make fun of her.


So here’s the deal.  Maybe at your place of work or organization you are a person who just naturally goes above and beyond.  To you it’s normal.  You like to take things to the next level. And you feel that you should. Quality is key for you.  I would venture to say there are probably a few workmates or friends that don’t take too kindly to your over-the-top endeavors (at least in their minds).  Remember, none of us want to look bad or feel the least bit inferior.  And some people just flat out don’t want you creating more work.


Some people are fine with “good”, others like “better” and then some of us just really enjoy going for the gold and reaching for “best”.  If that description fits you, be encouraged.


Don’t let folks around you determine your level or your standards.  Keep the ones that you have and in which you truly believe.  And too, if you think you can bring it up a notch in the coming year, well, why not do it?  It certainly won’t hurt. (Although it might add a bit more stress with those around you.)


All in all, if the majority of us strove for excellence in 2009 can you even imagine the change we could truly bring to this world?  It would be a very good thing.


Just my thoughts,