by Telvin Jeffries
Extraordinary leaders do things differently and cultivate characteristics that average people only do occasionally.
Note the fearlessness, determination, perseverance and devotion of Winston Churchill. Consider Nelson Mandela’s persistence, determination and commitment to what he believed. Or think about Theologian D.L. Moody who was not only known for his understanding of life purpose and commitment, but was a visionary leader who launched a multi-faceted ministry including world evangelism.
Finally, we have all heard of the many characteristics that are attributed to the late Steve Jobs. But one of the most unique is his relentless pursuit to do the extraordinary and go the extra mile.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29
So how do we leave a legacy and influence our world like these men? At the risk of oversimplifying the answer, I suggest five ways to cultivate extraordinary in our lives.
1. Be aware someone is always watching.
We are all role models in some way and those in our sphere of influence are also imitating our actions. In my career, I have been shocked at who was paying attention to what I had accomplished or how I handled a specific situation. Some of these assessments opened doors of opportunity. They also closed doors for me when I didn’t handle things as I should have.
2. Dedication to consistency leads to consistent success.
The most successful leaders have a set of routines or daily activities they do every day that are aligned with their goals. These routines have alignment with the vision for their lives, business and career. One benefit of consistency is that it builds character and character creates sustainability. It has been said, “Your talent can take you where your character cannot sustain you.”
3. There is no substitute for hard work.
As far back as I can remember. I have heard people say, “Don’t work hard, work smart.” That is a mere platitude or cliché. The fact is that anyone who has had substantive achievement has taken a long journey that includes lots of hard work, sacrifice, persistence and dedication. And yes, that includes working smart, too. Working hard may mean burning the midnight oil at times and sacrificing doing more enjoyable things, but the end result is moving your business, organization or career forward.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness: third, common sense.” – Thomas Edison
4. Continual growth is an essential mindset.
Some of the most interesting and talented people I know are continuous learners. They are curious about things and keep their knowledge in areas that they are passionate about up-to-date. Continuous learners have mentors they learn from. Some have reverse mentors. Reverse mentors are members of a younger generation and can help close knowledge gaps. One other benefit is that it fosters the development of emerging leaders.
An emerging trend that continuous learners should take advantage of is a (MOOC) Massive Open Online Course, an online course that has open access via the web. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford for example, offer free courses taught by the school’s professors in many areas. If you visit https://www.coursera.org you can sign up for almost any type of course you can imagine at the aforementioned universities and others. For no cost or minimal fees you can take a course in social media, marketing, computer programming, finance, etc. that degree-seeking, paying students are currently taking.
5. Be value-add in every interaction.
Extraordinary people humbly recognize they have a lot to offer their world. They choose to maximize every interaction, every meeting, every product or service creation to add value to lives of others and their sphere of influence. When people interact with them they leave with something that makes a difference in their lives. Extraordinary people empower other people; they give great advice; they connect people who need to know each other; and they create unique services and products that make a real difference in the lives others. Extraordinary people, like Einstein, buy into the idea that, “Only a life lived for others is worth living.”
Telvin Jeffries is a father, a Fortune 500 Business Executive,
a Certified Master Business Coach, and entrepreneur, living in Dallas, Texas.
Follow @Telvin_Jeffries on Twitter.