Going The Extra Mile
Author: Byron Pulsifer © 2017
It is not unusual for people to wonder what it means to go the extra mile.
Does it refer to doing something, engaging in some action, that is
beyond one's capabilities?
There is no doubt, we all put miles on our life's speedometer.
It is inevitable; we cannot avoid it. But, this inevitability begs the
question whether going the extra mile is worth it?
Confused? Let Me Explain
Whether we go to work daily, develop our own business,
or enter into or develop relationships with others, there are times
when it is either necessary, or just a good strategy, to do more
than is required, or to go the extra mile to make a difference.
That is to say that one chooses to go beyond what is normally
expected as opposed to doing what is required.
What About Your Family
It may seem odd to discuss thinking about going above and beyond
when it comes to what you do or are willing to do in your family
environment. I know this notion may have no practical importance
to those who are single but there may be more to this idea than at
Let's talk for a minute about a family relationship. And, for purposes of this
discussion let's assume that this family environment is comprised of a
man and woman and two children. I'm sure, at least for the woman
of the family, the simple fact that there are two children involved
in the family unit means more time spent on helping, nurturing,
and caring for children than there is time spent on looking after yourself first
For the woman of this family unit to go above and beyond often means,
in today's world, that the woman probably has a job outside of the
home to which they travel every day of the week. And, while work
away from home isn't stressful enough there is the constant expectation
that when she returns home a different type of work is most often
required. It may not only mean preparing supper and doing supper
dishes but it may also mean the caring for young children who
require individual attention, playing, counseling, teaching, or
helping with homework.
It can be argued that a woman's work is never done as well as it could be
easily argued that the woman of the household is a never ending role
of giving more to her family than she may get back. I am not, however,
suggesting that her male counterpart does nothing to assist or help
during waking hours of the children but the father's role seems often to be
less demanding than that of a woman. I would boldly suggest that the
woman is the one who constantly goes the extra mile.
What About Your Work Environment
So, let's turn to one's work environment for a moment and see if we can
discover what going the extra mile means at work. We all know that an
employer requires that you do a certain amount of work, or finish a project
based on a certain yardstick of time or performance. All too often, people
only do what they have to and no more. Their attitude
is one that portrays the notion that they don't owe anything to the company,
or ask, instead, what is the company doing for me.
The point of addressing the action
or behavior of those who go the extra mile,
or, in other words, those who are not only willing to stretch themselves
beyond what may be normally required and, instead, dive head first
into taking on additional duties without being asked or finishing a work
assignment even after the official day is finished demonstrate this going beyond attitude.
Change Your Attitude
When you change
your attitude from "what are they doing for me?" to one of embracing "what
can I do for the company", you move away from being self-centered
to become more value-added. You reflect the attitude of going the extra-mile.
Consider, for a moment, that you do reflect an on-going "go the extra-mile"
attitude at work. Who do you think would be more likely to get a bonus?
Who do you think would more likely be considered for a promotion?
Who do you think would be one of the last people to be let go when
downsizing or when rightsizing comes to visit?
Who Would You Rather Be Around?
From my observation of many work colleagues over the years,
I have also found that those who are more than willing to embark
on extra work without being asked are also those who have an inner
peace about their lives. These are the first people to offer assistance
to a colleague who needs a little help or who needs a few words of
encouragement. These are the type of people who are always ready
to give more out of conviction of being unselfish than give by thinking
that they will get a reward for doing so.
These are the same types of people who start their day on the sunny
side of the day, that is, they are more likely to embrace the day as
something new, something to look forward to rather than mere drudgery.
These people are those who are happy
for their unique blessings and are willing to extend their blessings so that
others may also benefit. This kind of giving is more of an attitude of friendship,
compassion for their
fellow citizens no matter their background or station in life.
These are the types of people who are the not stuck in a problem or
but are focused on finding a resolution. These people identify
the components or causes of the issue or problem and then move
forward by searching for the best option or options to not only address
and resolve the issue but in doing so offer to help fix it or counter its'
adverse affects. These types of people demonstrate going the extra mile.
Apply This To Your Life
The same notion applies to a great many aspects of life. Often, relationships
will more likely flourish when each person goes the extra mile - whether
we talk about the union of two people, or whether we talk about
service clubs. Who would you rather be? The one who is known for going
the extra mile that helps to make a difference, or the one who does
enough just to get by?
Your Extra Mile Legacy
How does going the extra mile speak to the notion of leaving a personal legacy?
In essence, a legacy of personal actions, attitudes and behaviors can
either positively or negatively impact hundreds of people that one meets
or works with over many years. The ultimate legacy one can leave,
in my opinion, is not one that means monetary or large edifices or
spectacular paintings but, instead, is a legacy that fosters a continuous lifestyle
of going beyond that which may be minimally required.
This is a legacy that positively influences family members, friends,
colleagues or organizations. This is a legacy that speaks by way of actions,
behaviors and the spoken words of encouragement, compassion,
excitement, caring, friendliness, helping, and seeing the best rather
than the worse.
Contrary to many aspects of the culture of selfishness, the me for me
attitude, the legacy of going the extra mile puts the individual last and
their contributions first. It is all about aiding, assisting, and lending
that helping hand amongst a culture of selfishness where the focus
is on getting more, having more and championing the notion of the survival of the fittest.
What kind of lasting 'going the extra mile' legacy will you leave?
"Do the kind of job that if at the end of the day, your employer had to pay you what you were worth, they couldn't afford to keep you, rather than for you to owe them."
"Small acts of kindness can make a difference in other peoples lives more than we can imagine."
"In the end, we can't always control what goes around us, but we do have full control over our own reactions and attitude toward it."
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