Blog Post: “Improve Yours, Or Help Someone Else Improve Theirs.”

While it’s one thing to set the pace of creativity in your workplace, it’s completely different to be swimming in a sea of creativity pushing you to create your very best. In my first year at Bottle Rocket, I have been challenged harder than ever before to be at the apex of what is possible. We say every day that we “embrace the impossible”, and that was manifested recently with our annual Rocket Science event.

If you have ever participated in a company hackathon before, just picture that effort on caffeine and steroids and you are getting close to it’s description.

With my genius idea, and team of motivated stars, I imagined it would be short cakewalk to completion and success. My phone camera was at the ready to take pictures of co-workers doing keg stands and laughing uncontrollably. Instead, people brought the same level of effort we bring to our apps every day of the week.

My fellow Rocketeers were serious about creating something amazing. Several even contributed on several projects during the evening, which ran from noon Thursday to 10 AM Friday. The enduring comment I took away from the evening was around two in the morning after we shipped our movie. When someone asked how our work was coming, to which I said, “Done, so I’m going to catch some rest before breakfast.” His response was telling:

“You can’t be done. Either improve yours, or help someone else improve theirs.”

I laughed, partially from exhaustion, and walked away thinking they were just razzing me. When I saw the other projects, some solo efforts, I realized what my friend was referring to.

My movie was as done as it was going to get. We realized that any additional effort was going to be varying levels of diminishing returns. I shouldn’t have been done though. Several projects were amazing, and it would have been awesome to give them a little help to get more done. Others were good, but I would have loved to sit with them for an hour to chat about it. Not to say that I would have been the necessary voice to push it over the top, but it might.

I got caught up in my silo. How often does that happen in our offices every day?

As much as I’m happy to present our Rocket Science 2014 submission, I do so with a promise for every day after: I don’t want to ever be in the same position again of wishing I had looked across the way for who I could help. There are people at your work that need your help. You might not know who it is, and neither do they. Regardless, the two of you need to collaborate (plus a few other people in the world).

Go find them, and lift each other up.

The movie poster from my team, Scrum: The Movie.

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