Going The Extra MileAuthor: 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 ExplainWhether 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 FamilyIt 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 first appears.
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 and foremost.
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 EnvironmentSo, 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 AttitudeWhen 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, kindness, and 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 challenge 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 LifeThe 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 LegacyHow 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?
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:"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." Christine Brown
"Small acts of kindness can make a difference in other peoples lives more than we can imagine." Catherine Pulsifer
"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." Steve Gold
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