A few days ago I went to the drive-through window of a local fast food business. After placing my order, I pull up to the window to pay and the worker opens up the window. I can tell she is in the middle of a conversation with a co-worker, but she rings up my order, takes my money, shoves out the bag of food and my drink without ever looking at me or speaking a word to me – all the while not missing one word in her conversation with her co-worker. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I have witnessed this type of behavior and I am sure there’s a high probability that you have witnessed similar type actions before, as well. Do you remember how that made you feel?
Well, once I got past my “how rude” ranting…it really strengthened my resolve to be the best I can be in everything I do. Then that made me start thinking about all the areas in my professional and personal life that I need improvement. But, you know what I have discovered? Sometimes doing our best just isn’t good enough. There are times when we do everything ‘just right,’ yet we still don’t get tasks completed or someone else is selected for a promotion or you suddenly find yourself receiving a layoff notice. Well, I am going to argue that there’s a way that we can do better than our best. Will it make a difference in every decision that affects you? Probably not. Will it make a difference in how you manage yourself and others? Definitely.
Whether you are a manager, a CEO, a custodian, a stay-at-home mom or dad or just a volunteer worker…going beyond your best efforts will springboard you into being an exceptional person. My grandfather always said, “Craig, just do your best and that’s all you can do.” So…is it even possible to do better than our very best? Contrary to my grandfather’s encouraging words, I believe we can do more than our very best by continually being exceptional…and this is how it can happen:
- Exceed Expectations: The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word ‘exceed‘ as to extend outside of; to be greater than or superior to; or to go beyond a limit set. Therefore, if we ‘box ourselves in” to just doing our very best or if we set a “limit” at just doing our very best, then this definition alone tells us that we can do something more…something greater. That we can “extend outside of” our very best; that we can “go beyond” our very best.
- Explore All Options – One definition of “explore” is to investigate systematically; to examine all possibilities. If we systematically explore all possibilities as we manage, then once we reach that benchmark of doing our ‘best’, we will be prepared to examine and explore possibilities that go beyond that benchmark. It’s a management culture that should be instilled in our very being.
- Expand Your Mindset – Unfortunately, for a lot of managers – their attitude when they arrive into their management position is fixed and focused, and most times there’s little that can be done to change that; however, in order to be ‘exceptional’ in what you do, you must learn to expand your mindset. One definition of ‘mindset‘ is a fixed mental attitude. And, to ‘expand‘ is to increase the scope of; to enlarge. Therefore, you must ‘enlarge your fixed mental attitude’ in order to be exceptional. Be willing to consider other suggestions or opinions without having a bias toward your own fixed mental attitude.
I firmly believe that if you can continually exceed expectations, explore all possible options and learn to expand your mindset, then you can go above and beyond just doing your very best. You can become exceptional…and when that happens your family, co-workers, friends, managers, employees, etc. will all thank you for it. Now…take time today to look at how you can apply these steps to your daily routine and go mark your spot by being the exceptional person we all know you can be.