Some years back I had the privilege of sharing a meal with the CEO of a large public listed company (Market Cap over 185 billion US dollars). Here’s a man with a proven track record, who’s continually sought after for his time and opinions, and he shares with me his top two tips for success (one of which I’m about to share with you).

So here it is……
Understand the importance of definition. Make sure you and your team have a common language and association.

For example: What does running your business in a ‘Transparent’ manner mean? Do Management Dashboards meet this objective? Or (in your mind) does it mean micromanagement?
Your definition of a word (thought association), ultimately affects your behaviour.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character,
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. – Frank Outlaw

Translating this into something practical, let me ask:

  1. Do you want an extraordinary life?
  2. What does “extraordinary” mean?

A safe bet, is that the common answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes!” (or “Dah Dude!”) Not so unifying, is the response to the second – which forms our thinking and ultimately our destiny.

So how could our awakening of a desire – I want to live an extraordinary life – and our understanding of a word “extraordinary” actually change our life?

The Latin root word for extraordinary is “Extra Ordinem” which means “outside the normal course of events”. We tend to associate extraordinary with something big, something large, something so far removed from our world that it’s framed as an impossibility for our life. The sad thing is that when we do this, we stop believing for extraordinary and live, well, the ordinary.

But maybe, extraordinary is in the little things.
No-one’s extraordinary comes from a single big event. Extraordinary is the result of repeated “outside of the normal course of event” decisions made over a sustained period of time. We see it in athletes who consistently make little decisions on diet, exercise and time management and who one day perform feats that others recognise as extraordinary. We see it in someone like Nelson Mandela who repeatedly chooses love, forgiveness and reconciliation, day after day and who eventually changed the course of a divided nation.

So continue to dream big, live for extraordinary and may it inspire you to have an appreciation of the small, repeated “extraordinary/outside the norm” decisions that will take you there.

May the walk that takes you there and the life you leave for others be extraordinary!