As a business owner, leader and entrepreneur, there is one coveted goal I continue to strive for. I simply call it “extraordinary.” It is my definition of success as a leader and for my company. My vision for achieving extraordinary is both my inspiration and my ever-present nemesis. When I see it within my reach, it inspires me to push harder. And when it slips further away, it frustrates the hell out of me because I know, somehow, I allowed it to slip away.
Achieving extraordinary is not to be confused with company vision. It’s infinitely more individual. It is purely about breakthroughs on a personal, leadership and business level in ways that positively and profoundly impact the lives of many. That’s what achieving extraordinary means to me. The question is, what does it mean to you?
Here are some no-compromise strategies to help you define what achieving extraordinary means to you:
- Make it yours: What do you really want to achieve in your lifetime? What fulfills you and makes you feel strong, proud and worthy? The work I’m doing today is the work I dreamed of doing. But even after 40+ years, there are still plenty of extraordinary things I need to check off my list.
- Intimidate yourself: Achieving extraordinary means pushing yourself far beyond your comfort zone. I never thought I could ride my bike 100 miles in a day, but I’ve done it many times. I remember how amazing I felt the first time I hit 40 miles. Then I did 50 miles, then 75 miles. The same happens in leadership and business. I freaked out the first time I spoke in front of 500 people; today, public speaking is what I love to do. I didn’t know I could write and move people with my words. I’ve written and published three books. Comfort zones are for couch potatoes. Challenge yourself to attempt something extraordinary.
- Break the mold: Breakthroughs happen when you smash the mold, raise the bar, and discover new possibilities. The mold is about conformity and doing things the same way. Yesterday’s mold may have achieved yesterday’s extraordinary, but yesterday’s extraordinary is today’s ordinary. When was the last time you broke your trusted mold? It’s probably past its useful life. Invent a new mold to achieve a new breakthrough. Just remember, you’ll have to break that mold too one day.
- Choose wisely: Achieving extraordinary doesn’t mean ignoring best practices and industry benchmarks. It means selecting the best-of-the-best business practices that will take your company to extraordinary new places. It means locking them in to your company’s thinking and culture. Most importantly, it means testing and perfecting new best practices and defining new benchmarks to make your company stretch. Olympic athletes know about achieving extraordinary and the discipline and accountability it takes to set records and win gold medals.
- Believe in yourself: Life is a roller coaster full of ups and downs. There are times when you need to reach deep to find those morsels of courage to keep you in the game and moving forward. It sure helps to have people around you who believe in you, but in the end, you must believe in your own ability to achieve extraordinary. We all have the ability. Not everyone has the courage. Then again, what’s the worst that could happen if you give it a go?