Principles of Success: “Going the Extra Mile”

Have you ever considered what factors play the most important roles in determining your success or failure in any endeavor?

Is it the compilation of the little successes in your business or personal endeavors that make you a success in life, or is success in life something completely separate from success in business?

How do you define success, and what are you willing to do to achieve it?

Most of the top success coaches in the world agree that one factor that will help insure your success in anything you decide to take on is your willingness to “go the extra mile”, but what does “going the extra mile” really mean?

Let’s consider that for a minute.

Think about how many opportunities you have each day to go the extra mile. You’ll find that there are dozens. “Going the extra mile” simply means doing something better than you have to, or going above and beyond what is expected of you in any given situation.

When you meet someone new, how you relate to them is a choice. You can do what is expected of a normal person, which is to introduce yourself and maybe force a smile. Or, you can go the extra mile. You can flash a big smile, pay the person a sincere complement and let them know that you are genuinely pleased to have met them. You can take interest in really getting to know them. Perhaps using your intuition, you can say or do something for this person that would brighten their day.

Is it difficult to go the extra mile in social situations? No, of course not. However, most people don’t do it.

Use that to your advantage. When you decide to start really going the extra mile in every area of your life, it’s going to set you apart. It’s what’s going to give you an advantage in every area of your life. It won’t be at the expense of anyone else, except maybe your business or romantic competitors who are failing to go the extra mile.

People are going to like you more. Doors will open. Success will follow. But first, you have to make a habit of going the extra mile EVERY chance you get. Soon, it will become second nature to you, something that’s just built into your personality and work ethic. Most people don’t even recognize their opportunities to go the extra mile because they aren’t looking for them, but you can.

From this point on, make a conscious decision to be on the lookout for your opportunities to go the extra mile – and take them. Once you make a habit out of going the extra mile, you’ll begin to enjoy it. If you’re paying attention, over time you’ll recognize how going the extra mile pays off for you, and it always does pay off over time.

Let’s consider an example of going the extra mile that almost everyone has experienced at one time or another: Romantic Courtship.

At some time in the past you’ve probably met a person who was highly desirable to you. Because you found this person so desirable, you did not find it difficult to smile bigger, to do small favors or to treat the person in a very special way in order to “win them over”. In effect, while courting this person you were going the extra mile. Was it difficult or undesirable work? Our guess is that your experience was not negative, but very positive. You got satisfaction and happiness out of going the extra mile, and perhaps even a lifelong partner that you still enjoy being with today.

Whether it be in your personal relationships, or in your business relationships – going the extra mile always pays off, even if the payoff is not immediate or simple to recognize. Do a little more or better work than is expected of you, or than what you are compensated for now. Pour a little more of your energy and soul into your phone calls or emails.

Take the 5 seconds to add “have a great day” at the end of your emails. When you see an opportunity to complement someone on what they are doing right, take it. It has been said that everything you do or think, both positive and negative, comes back to you in an ever increasing quantity. We’ve found this to be true about going the extra mile. Never has it failed to pay off big dividends.

We’ll end this article with a super example of someone going the extra mile, which we found published in and relating to Newsweek Magazine. It pays tribute to a man, Harry Quadracci, now deceased, who went the extra mile for Newsweek back in 1977.

Quadracci had a small printing press in Wisconsin. Not usually a supplier to Newsweek, he took an urgent order when they were unable to get work done by their regular printer. They sent him the layouts, but the plan was diverted by a snowstorm. Unable to trace the package, Newsweek staff called him “in distress.” They discovered that, despite the weather, he had already sent a car through the blizzard to claim the package, and that the job was already being printed. One might say that Quadracci went the extra mile. Certainly it paid off handsomely, because he later became a regular supplier for the huge publication. But he did not know that when he proactively challenged the snowstorm. For all he knew, as soon as the magazine’s temporary problems with their regular suppliers were over he might never hear from them again. But he did it anyway.

Going the extra mile does not always pay off so handsomely as it did in this case, but in terms of personal and business growth, of the growing feeling of confidence that we experience when we stretch ourselves, it pays off every time.

Starting right now, begin to recognize your opportunities to go the extra mile and make certain that you take them as often as possible. The dividends will come back to you in various ways and at unknown times, but at some time – YOU WILL be compensated for going the extra mile every chance you get.

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