“One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile.” – Napoleon Hill
Going the extra mile is usually defined as “doing more than one is required to do.” To live on the extra mile, you will always strive to outdo yourself year in and year out because you want to. Since this lifestyle on the extra mile is your decision, you will naturally never compete or compare yourself with others.
Always Choose the Clear Ethical Path
Harvey Mackay says, “Ethical decisions ensure that everyone’s best interests are protected. When in doubt, don’t.”
Having the ethical standard of taking the high road as your bare minimum sets you apart from most people at the outset. While under pressure, some leaders may make unethical decisions to gain an advantage over their competitors, this may appear to work at the moment but always carries negative consequences in the long run.
The explicit ethical path is always the high road because it places others first, taking the high road of learning never to criticize, complain or condemn others attracts quality people. If you will put others first when in need of a trusted advisor, your name will appear at the top of their list.
In fiercely competitive fast-paced markets, the extraordinarily successful organizations travel at the speed of trust. People want to do business with and work for people they trust. Honesty is always the best policy, and a clean conscience makes a great pillow to sleep on at night, that’s life on the extra mile.
Learning How to Build a Lifestyle on the Extra Mile
“Don’t be content with doing only your duty. Do more than your duty. It’s the horse that finishes a neck ahead wins the race.” – Andrew Carnegie
Not everyone will choose to place more demands on their time or take on the responsibility of continued personal growth. Pushing your skillsets to new levels as a lifestyle opens a clear uncongested road ahead of you. Zig Ziglar says, “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
Becoming Efficiently Effective
“A commitment to going the extra mile means never having to apologize for subpar performance.” – Gary Ryan Blair
Oxford describes efficiently “in a way that achieves maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense,” and effective as “successful in producing a desired or intended result.” keep in mind that on the extra mile, this quality is intentional and maintained by choice. How much value do you think being efficiently effective adds to your organization? Being proficient in always giving more than you are required or giving more than you receive is a mind-set that places you miles ahead of the status quo.
Increasing Your Personal Bandwidth
By personal bandwidth, I mean the emotional and mental capacity to handle a variety of responsibilities within different settings. Not everyone can excel at multitasking, we all have our limits, and few are willing to go the extra mile to explore theirs.
Develop the habit of doing the most important things first with excellence. As you become more effective, delegate the less important and devote your time to only what is essential. Especially if these are things you’re still learning to do, this will help expand your personal bandwidth.
If it’s important enough to be doing, it’s important enough to be doing it right, don’t take short cuts. Doing what’s essential (even when it involves a learning curve for you) consistently increases the returns for your efforts and, over time, increases your personal bandwidth – that’s how you add value on the extra mile.
Considerations for Living on the Extra Mile
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – Peter Drucker
Reflect on these four thoughts:
Don’t limit your thinking – Change your thoughts and challenge your limits. Never be satisfied meeting expectations – Always plan on exceeding them. Are you learning more now than ever before? Why? Or Why not? Take notes. What are you planning to learn next year that will help you surpass this year? Become a mentor and multiply your effectiveness into the next generation.
“Don’t live your life to see yourself being better than you were yesterday, live your life to see those you mentor being better tomorrow than you are today, that’s life on the extra mile” – JSP
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***