Have you ever wondered why some people appear to experience accelerated career growth; people you belonged to the same rank with, just the other day? Have you wondered why some people in your department appear to be the only ones who capture the attention of the boss? Have you wondered why some people are recalled for renegotiation when they resign while others are hastily released? Have you wondered why some teachers appear(ed) to have soft spots for certain students. You probably have speculated that your boss hates the rest of you and there is something fishy going down between the boss and the ‘favored one’. Well, there is great chance that your speculations are misleading. Your ‘favored’ friends may just have discovered a great recipe for success that is unknown to you – the power of the extra mile.
The extra mile is a concept that advocates for doing more than is requested or expected of you. It is a magical concept that works in ways you haven’t thought of before. The world is full of average people doing just what is expected of them; they are comfortable operating normally in the comfort of the majority. This then implies that individuals who become outstanding in life are those who perform slightly beyond the expected; those who go an extra mile. It literally makes them appear taller than the rest, so to speak. That is why they get noticed by whoever is interested to look at the crowd, your boss included.
Of course you are justified to reason that you should only do that which lies in your contractual mandate. However, selflessness is a virtue that bears fruits beyond measure; it does not pay off immediately, but when it rewards, it does so immensely. Anything extra that you do after coercion is not the extra mile because you do it while in bitterness. The extra mile is your own sacrificial initiative which you make with joy and without expectation of anything in return. It is not a direct investment but it comes to pay when you least expect it and in a mightier way.
Wait, do not take your mind too far; the extra mile is not about the huge sacrifices that you make after a lot of calculations. It is about a selfless character of doing more than expected even on smaller tasks. A story is told of a master who wanted to promote one of his two long serving servants. He decided to test them by sending both of them to buy some bananas. Both were sent to different markets which coincidentally did not have the bananas. Each of the servants came back to report the findings to the master. The first servant reported, “There are no bananas in the market” while the second one reported, “There are no bananas in the market; however, there are paw paws and watermelons which sell at the same price as the bananas you had sent. Maybe you should consider a different fruit”. The second one found favor with the master and was promoted.
Notice that the first servant only did what every average person would have done; he was not outstanding in any way. The second servant did what appears to be a usual thing that can easily be overlooked, but it gave him an edge over the other servant. Apart from asking whether bananas were available, he went ahead and noted availability of paw paws and watermelons. He even inquired about their prices yet no one had sent him for that. Remember, none of them knew they were under test and as the second servant was going the extra mile, he had no expectations of anything in return.
The magic of going the extra mile in whatever you do in life is that it comes loaded with unsolicited favors. Every serious person out there is interested not in the average person, but that who can emerge outstanding in whatever sphere under review. The extra mile has handed people jobs and others, promotions; it has made customers prefer one shop over the rest in the same locality and it has earned certain consultancies, contract after contract. Chances are that the people you view as being favored are reaping from their extra mile.
What about you? You have complained enough times that no one is recognizing your efforts despite having worked in the same department for ages. How should you be recognized when you only do what everyone else does? You have not stood taller than the rest in any aspect of your role performance. Are you aware that your employer can easily replace you without feeling a pinch since you add nothing special to the equation of performance? They have nothing to miss you for, other than your pretty face.
It is definitely time you became deliberate with going an extra mile. Make it a habit that you do without expecting anything in return. Do not be fond of dwelling among the average; always aspire to be outstanding in whatever you do. Greatness awaits only those who are willing to be bold yet selfless enough to do more than expected of them. The only difference between ordinary and extra ordinary is the ‘extra’. You were never created an average person, but a unique one with components of great achievement. So why do you struggle to be where everyone is? All the great people known to history embraced the golden habit of going an extra mile. When everyone is seated, squat; when everyone is squatting, stand; when everyone is standing, jump. Whatever the case, endeavor to rise above mediocrity by learning the delicate ropes of going an extra mile because YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Peak Performance Speaker and Author
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