The band Swithfoot has a song called “More than Fine” that says
“When I wake in the morning,
I want to blow into pieces.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok…
More than fine, more than bent on getting by…”
More than fine, more than just ok.
I like that song because I think most of us feel the same way. We’d like to live in a way that is extraordinary and have superlative relationships and experiences.
Here are ten things you can do to make your life and business extraordinary:
1. Be clear on what YOU consider extraordinary. Have a picture of what extraordinary looks like to you in your life, experiences and relationships. Is it just about what you get? Or about what you give? Not every aspect of our lives need be extraordinary. What areas are important for you to focus on making better?
2. Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. That is the essence of my book The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary. It’s the extra touch, the added flourish or the additional thought and effort that make a difference.
3. Fear nothing but to waste the present moment. We live fully moment to moment, not day to day or month to month. Take care of the moments and the moments take care of your life.
4. Prioritize your Rs: results, rewards, recreation or relationships. Knowingly or not, people typically focus on one of the four as primary. How do these four typical organizing principles line up in your life?
In the movie Up in the Air, George Clooney plays a character who finds that traveling light by avoiding relationships may not be as much fun as he thought. Results, rewards and recreation all mean little without people to share them with.
5. Be compassionate. The Dali Lama said, “To make others happy, be compassionate. To make yourself happy, be compassionate.” Compassion starts with little things like giving someone the benefit of the doubt and extends to becoming involved in helping another who is in need. Explore the range of compassion in your life.
6. Substitute concern and action for worry. Worry is the negative use of imagination. Concern is about examination and preparation; it is about a rational consideration of what might be detrimental and how to avoid it. Action is the antidote to worry. It moves you from thinking about what might go wrong to what you can do about it.
7. Go forward with the basics. Build on what’s important. Refresh the skills that have made you successful. Consistent attention to the basics enables progress.
Life basics can be brushed up by reading the classics. Pay attention to Aristotle who asked, “What does it take to be good?” What basic skills define success in your business and life?
8. Pursue “different and valued.” If you do what everyone else does in business, you will get what everyone else gets, and that’s “the average.” It is the something extra that sets you apart—your “value add.” But it isn’t enough to be different (you could dress like Anthony or Cleopatra but while different I doubt your coworkers or customers would “value” the difference). It is the more/better/faster/different or more fun that others value.
9. Get healthier. It isn’t that hard to do: to be a little healthier eat a little less and a little better and exercise a little more. You aren’t trying to make the cover of Modern Muscle magazine.
10. Spend less than you make, save some of what you don’t spend and contribute some of what you save. A recent survey showed that half of Americans don’t have enough saved to support them more than two months should they lose their job and 25% have no savings at all.
I wish you the healthiest and happiest New Year.