with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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Today I’m coming to you from Iowa in the beautiful city of Des Moines.

I've just finished two days in a mastermind with some of the most inspiring people down in Austin, Texas. I’ve been hanging out with some legends who have all been on our podcast, namely Mitch Matthews, Drew McLellan, and Adam Carroll. And what I want to talk to you today about is how not to do ordinary, but to do extraordinary, because if there's one trait that seems to keep coming through from all these great people that I meet, it’s that they're doing really extraordinary things! And so should you.

There's a great quote from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. He said, “If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way.”

And I really feel that never a truer word has been said because that's what it means for 99.9% of us. We're not doing great things on the world stage. We're not solving world hunger. We've got families to feed. We've got businesses to run, jobs to keep. So our job then is to do small things greatly.

What happens when we don't do small things greatly?

What happens when we do lots of small things poorly? Well, that's what most of us end up doing, because of the overwhelm, and the endless list of tasks from our bosses, the work that's required, and all the different requirements of our time from home. And we end up rushing around doing all things poorly.

If we just forget the fact that we don't deliver high-quality output, what it means for us from an emotional, mental and even a spiritual perspective is that we don't feel like we're operating at our best. It's like it's a shallowness to it that eats away at us, and grinds away at our soul. And that's a really hard thing to deal with day in, day out, especially if you're doing it for long periods of time.

So the challenge is, how do you find the time to do small things greatly, one after the other. And if we can work out a way in your life to do that, your career is going to have a better sense of meaning to it, because you are producing high-quality content that involves less rework, and your boss won't be giving you heat.

Sounds great, but how?

First and foremost, there are boxes to be ticked every day, and as Mitch Matthews would say, “Every job has suck factor.” What we do is we try and box up some of that suck factor, and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Then we pick four or five things in our work that we are going to do so exceptionally well, so brilliantly well, that we feel proud of ourselves when we leave the office every single day. What we want to feel is that sense within us that we've absolutely nailed something every single day if we can. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to be something extraordinary.

Here are some ideas:

  1. When you've got to do a report for a board, make some additional suggestions they never would've heard of.
  2. When you're running a team meeting, puts some sizzle into it. Make it fun, make it exciting. 
  3. When you've got a one-to-one, go the extra mile and take them somewhere special to treat them to a special lunch, and tell them how much you value their work.

How does The Chief Maker do extraordinary?

Being extraordinary isn't actually that hard. It's probably, to be honest, the extra 1% of time and effort, to make someone feel special, or do a job that's really good. What I often do is if I've got an important email to write to a client, I will very often write the email, get it all done up and nice and neat, make sure it makes good grammatical sense. And then I'll leave it, and then I'll come back later and I'll ask myself, “Will this leave an impression? Will this make people think that I'm really going the extra mile for them?”

We have a tradition that at every workshop we run, every session we run, that we lead at the very end with something extra special that people never forget, Maybe we give them a little gift. We follow up with a handwritten note if we can. These are the little things that just make an enormous difference.

So I want you to run a test for yourself this week. All I want you to do is ONE THING that isn't ordinary…it's extraordinary! Extra ordinary! Do that one thing, see how it feels, and see if you can start filtering that into the way you work every week.

Then it's maybe two things a week that are extraordinary. And then it's this one thing a day. And it becomes part of the way you operate. You don't want to be thinking about these things all the time. It should just be how you operate. How can you go the extra mile and be extraordinary? And when you've done that, you've done many small things greatly.

Stay epic,