When extraordinary is the default

Extraordinary is just that – something positively outside of the ordinary. Something that will standout in a sea of mediocrity.

What appears as extra-ordinary to others might be something that happens by default to the achiever, especially if it is setup that way.

Over the years, I have followed one rule when people ask for advice. I will find out what the person has done until now and (if I notice potential) then I will casually suggest that they should consider doing something as a next step.

Only that I know what I am suggesting as a next step is actually way beyond the next step. IT’s actually a few steps up. If they followed a step-by-step approach, it would take them a few years to get there.

The results have been good so far. Some people have written books, some have started companies and some others have gone on to get bigger jobs in their own companies or some other company in the same industry.

While I would love to take credit for the extraordinary results, my role was simple – to reset their own expectations what they could do NOW. When extraordinary was treated as the default thing to do, the task at hand did not look as big as before.

If, during our conversations, I made them feel like they are taking on a task as big as climbing Mount Everest, things might have been different. People generally want to finish a few things before taking on a mega project like that and when they start finishing what they are doing, new tasks crop up that needs finishing and the cycle continues.

But, our conversations would focus very little on the task itself (probably less than 5% of the time.) The rest of the time was spent on discussing what could they do with what they have to build the capacity to pursue the task. Since 95% of the time was spent on this, the task would start looking smaller and smaller compared to before.

By the end of the conversation, the task was no longer extraordinary but the default path to follow.

I have to say that not EVERYONE who engaged in such a journey succeeded but everyone who started the journey admitted that they were glad that they took on that journey because they realized that in pursuit of extraordinary there is phenomenal growth. They had more capacity to play with at the end of the day. Failures only made them stronger than before.

So, what could you do with this information?

You could start trying this method with people that are close to you – family and friends. More importantly, you could find someone close to you who can raise the bar for your own life.

If I have to summarize, I would say that pursuing “extraordinary” does not guarantee success but it definitely guarantees extraordinary growth for yourself.

Photo Courtesy: Jayegiri99 on Flickr