Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Extraordinarily Big One

This is a big week for me - I'm going to be 60. For the past several months, friends and family have all been quick to point out that 60 is the new 40. I gotta tell you: "I don't know what that means!" When I was growing up I clearly remember that I was most impressed with my father (and all the other parents of the kids I knew) when he was 60. People I meet today - personally and professionally - all seem to be most thoughtful and successful at that same age. So what's with trying to hide behind some false assumptions about age. We're all living longer and doing more longer, and there's no reason to make up something about when it's supposed to be really good. As I reach this milestone I have to admit that it ain't bad. Yes, I'll also admit that in my late teens and early 20s I thought anyone who was 60 was ancient, but now I can see how mistaken that was. Today I have less to prove; more experience, knowledge and perspective; a healthier attitude about being and doing good (personal/work/health) and a growing sense that I can help others with all that I have become. So forget about 60 being the new anything - it's 60. And I know with certainty that if I want 60 to be anything special, then I have to just get off my ass and make that happen.

This week's message is about how ordinary people can create or accomplish extraordinary things.

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, (1919 – 2008), was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. In 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers’ known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Every day you take on lots of ordinary tasks; the trick is to then try to do something extraordinary with them. Successfully reaching this level relies on understanding what your goals are, and then it takes a great deal of careful and strategic planning to discover where you could or should take them, and then you have to pay close attention to all the details (both big and small), and after this you have to work harder than you ever expected; and then, and only then, do you have any chance of reaching an extraordinary level of achievement with any or all of your goals.

Whether it’s creating something grand, or performing at a level way above your competition, or turning in work that is so much more than anyone expected – these each require you to reach deep within yourself and to focus on performing at your very best. Do that today and you may reach the peak of your performance.

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