Travel the Extra Mile
Entrepreneurs know that little extra effort will make them extraordinary.
Going the Extra Mile: Jack Canfield
Rejected by more than 130 publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul became a worldwide sensation only because of persistence and the attitude of going the extra mile. When others might have given up, Chicken Soup creator Jack Canfield pushed on—just as he advises others to do. “People told Elvis he couldn’t sing. People said the Beatles were no good,” he says. Chicken Soup for the Soul, a collection of 101 inspiring fables, parables and real-life short stories, was finally published in 1993. Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, his collaborator, fed a grassroots marketing effort that made the book an international best-seller and spawned about 200 spinoffs. Chicken Soup titles have sold more than 112 million copies and been translated into 40-plus languages, according to ChickenSoup.com. Canfield says persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers. “The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor. No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist the more likely your success,” he writes in The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, his 2003 best-seller that sold some 700,000 copies. As founder and chairman of The Canfield Training Group in Santa Barbara, Calif., he has helped more than 1 million people through his personal and professional development seminars. He draws blueprints and shares techniques for achievement with the unemployed, wealthy executives, struggling and comfortable entrepreneurs, prison inmates, and Mr. and Ms. Average Reader—all who wish to follow their passions to successful, goal-directed lives.
An important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations is a willingness to “Go The Extra Mile “; which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude.
The Extra Mile Formula
Render more and better service than you are paid for, and sooner or later you will receive compound interest from your investment. It is inevitable that every seed of useful service you sow will sprout and reward you with an abundant harvest.
Going the extra mile is not the sort of principle that can be put into practice in a few easy steps. Instead it is a state of mind that you must develop, so that it is a part of everything you do. There is a subtle, but powerful, mental attitude connected with it. The story that follows will demonstrate that attitude and show you the concrete benefits if brings. Remember, your best recommendation is the one you give yourself by rendering superior service in the right mental attitude.
Thomas Edison’s Only Partner
Edward C. Barnes was a man of much determination but few resources. He was determined to ally himself with the greatest mind of his day, Thomas Edison. When he arrived in Edison’s office unannounced, his poor appearance made the clerks laugh, especially when he revealed that he had come to be Mr. Edison’s partner. Edison had never had a partner. But his persistence got him an interview with Edison, and that interview got him a job as a handyman.
Edison was impressed with Barnes’s determination, but that alone was insufficient to convince him to take the extraordinary step of making him a partner. Instead Barnes spent years cleaning and repairing equipment, until one day he heard Edison’s sales force laughing over the latest invention, the dictaphone.
They said it would never sell. Why replace a secretary with a machine? But Barnes, the handyman, jumped up and cried, “I can sell it!” He got the job. For a month Barnes pounded the New York City pavement on a handyman’s salary. At the end of that month he had sold seven machines. When he returned to Edison, full of ideas for selling more machines all across the country, Edison made him his partner in the dictaphone business, the only partner Edison ever had.
What made Barnes so important to Edison? The inventor had thousands of people working for him, but only Barnes was willing to display his faith in Edison’s work and to put that faith into action. He didn’t demand a fancy expense account and a big salary to do it either. Barnes focused favorable attention on himself by rendering service far beyond a handyman’s responsibility. As the only one of Edison’s employees to render this service, he was the only one who uncovered such tremendous benefits for himself.
Here are some of the benefits of going the extra mile:
- It could bring you to the favorable attention of those around you who could help you to advance yourself in both personal or business ventures. But you must not do it to gain this attention you must do it because you truly wish to help those around you.
- It will help you in all that you do because as you undertake each task you will be thinking ‘how I can do a better job than I did last time’. In so doing you increase your imagination and your creativity.
- By the law of contrast you will stand out against others as they will not be going the first mile let alone going the extra mile.
- By developing the habit of going the extra mile you will improve your personality and you will find that you are liked more by others.
- It will inspire you to work on your own personal initiative instead of waiting to be told what to do, you will be thinking what can I do next to improve my service. This is the first step in true leadership in all callings.
- This habit alone can help you to master the destructive habit of procrastination. Procrastination is one of the reasons why so many fail in their endeavors.
- It helps you to develop definiteness of purpose and this is the starting point of all personal success and stops you from drifting through life without know what you want and where you are going.
- It conditions your mind to maintain a mastermind alliance with others and in so doing you create your own favorable breaks simply by using this small but huge habit.
Going the extra mile sets committed entrepreneurs apart from those who would simply be fine to cut corners.