This article is part of The Catalyst Series: a series of articles that will help you advance your career, create opportunity, become indispensable, and change the world.
Going the extra mile is one of the most critical steps to advancing your career. It’s more important than anything else I’ll discuss in this series.
Going the extra mile is doing the unexpected. It’s going above and beyond your job description to make the world a better place. It’s WOWing somebody.
Here are some different ways you can go the extra mile at work:
- Write a thank-you note to a new customer.
- Write a thank-you note to your employees for a job well done.
- Volunteer to be part of a new project.
- Start a new project.
- Give one of your customers a new business lead.
- Teach a personal development class.
- Write a blog to offer helpful information.
- Be a mentor.
- Do something no one else wants to do.
What happens when you go the extra mile?
- You feel good. You have peace-of-mind knowing you made someone’s day better.
- You learn. You help people solve their problems and in return learn how to solve your own.
- You become valuable. Few people are willing to go the extra mile. Those who do are scarce. Scarcity = value.
- You feel empowered. Most people go to work, follow instructions, and go home. Going the extra mile gives you a chance to make your own rules and chart your own course. This is liberating.
- You are fulfilled. When you go the extra mile, you fulfill your definite purpose as you move with conviction toward your goals.
How far are you willing to go?
Despite all the great rewards you get by going the extra mile, very few do. Why not? Because it’s hard. It’s not required. It’s different. It causes people to look at you funny.
Have you ever gone out of your way to do something nice for someone and they look at you like you have two heads? That’s OK. It re-emphasizes that you’re different. You’re uncommon, scarce, and valuable!
It’s easy to fit in, fly under the radar, and maintain the status quo. It’s easy to show up to work and follow instructions. It’s easy to wait around for someone to tell you what to do.
It’s not easy to go out of your way and do something that will make a difference.
How much are you willing to give?
A common misconception is that going the extra mile is about grinding down and out-working your counterparts. Going the extra mile is not a competition or a race. It’s creating value. It’s sharing and giving. It’s not winning and losing.
You have a unique gift that makes you different from everyone else. Use it. Share it. Give it away for free.
Napoleon Hill, one of the most respected personal-success writers of all time, spent 20 years of his life (unpaid) creating his philosophy on personal achievement. People thought he was crazy. After all, why would anyone work for 20 years for free? Most people wouldn’t work 20 minutes for free.
In those 20 years he wrote the book “Think and Grow Rich.” During his lifetime, the book sold over 20 million copies. His work affected millions of lives and continues to have an effect on people today.
Why compete against Physics?
Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd law of motion is: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
When you give more, you get more. The gifts you give always come back to you (usually much greater) in return. Maybe not today, this week, or this year…but eventually they will come back. They may be in the form of a promotion, compensation, opportunity, a handshake, or a hug. But most importantly, giving makes you happy. It makes you feel good. And you get that feeling immediately.
What if you can’t see how Newton’s third law applies to you? What if you don’t get the reaction you were looking for? What if you don’t get a promotion or recognized for your efforts?
The worst-case scenario is you will have brightened someone’s day. You will have made the world a better place. You will have made a difference.
And that’s enough for me.
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Have an excellent week.