From Ordinary to Extraordinary

You’ll Be Surprised What it Takes!



So good to be back with all of you again this week, my friends! The past week has been a whirlwind of travel, power networking, a little sightseeing, some great food, a little sun and sand, and a little bit of education. I was invited to speak and teach at the National Association of Appraisers ACTS conference, which was held this year in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a week-long event with a bunch of fun events participants could opt in to like deep sea fishing, a golf outing, sightseeing, and a few other events. The conference itself was a fairly typical industry event with vendors promoting their stuff, and a couple days of educational offerings like a USPAP CE course, classes on understanding the appraisal process better, some classes on legal issues, and so on.

What gets me excited is to see that these types of events are starting to include people like me talking and teaching on the business and lifestyle side of things. The topic I was asked to teach on was simply building your appraisal business. Over the last couple years, we’re starting to see more and more of these events include people like me talking and teaching appraisers how to be better businesspeople, instead of just better technicians in their appraisal businesses. So, with that, I’d like to give a shout out to Bryan Reynolds from Appraiser E-Learning and the E-Learning podcast for inviting me to participate, and also for putting on a really well-organized event. Kudos to the whole team of people that helped make that event go off on a tight schedule and deliver on their promises.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the topic of this week’s show, which is making the ordinary extraordinary. Before we get into the 3-phase approach to becoming extraordinary, lets first talk about the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. When you hear those two words, you likely already have some thoughts brewing in your head about what they mean, and what the differences mean. The first idea that I want to express on this topic is that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is often razor thin. Sometimes, when I talk about this topic during coaching calls, we’re talking about how to build a business that does not rely on extraordinary people, but instead takes ordinary people and makes them extraordinary because of the systems and documented processes that you have that allows the average person to get work done by following the system.

The first thing to note on the topic of ordinary to extraordinary is that the difference lies in the ‘extra’. To go from ordinary to extraordinary, not only do you simply need to add the word ‘extra’ to the word ‘ordinary’, I believe the word is giving us the instructions for how to do it. The word, itself, is telling us how to be extraordinary, and it’s by doing a little extra, or a little more, than what is required to be ordinary. Ordinary, by the way, means average, no exceptional ability, quality, or degree. It means not particularly good, but just average. Even as I speak those words my stomach turns just a little bit. I’ve shared on this show before that one of my greatest fears, as well as motivators, is the fear of being just average, leading an average and ordinary life, and being considered typical and common. I don’t really know why or where it comes from, but that’s one of my main motivating forces. I know everyone is different in what inspires and drives them to be, do, or have the things they do. That just happens to be my thing, so I’ve made it something of an area of study. Learning that the main difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that something extra was a game changer for me because it helped close the gap in my belief that to be extraordinary you had to be like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Elon Musk, or Steve Jobs.

I thought you had to be born with extraordinary talent, extraordinary physical traits and abilities, or extraordinary intelligence. And, while all of those people are considered to be extraordinary for their areas of accomplishment, the reality is that they just happened to also be game changers in their sport or industry, but that there are millions of people who are extraordinary at what they do, even if they’ll never rise to the level of those names I mentioned. They’re extraordinary because they simply add the ‘extra’ to the ‘ordinary’. So, let’s talk about the 3 phases or going from ordinary to extraordinary in any area.

As with everything in life and business, the first phase of anything lies in how we think. Said differently, everything begins and ends with our mindset. Going from ordinary to extraordinary absolutely requires the wholesale rejection of thoughts, ideas, and mantras that we tell ourselves reminding us that we’re ordinary. The little extra that extraordinary people have that ordinary people tend not to have are the words they hear in their own heads telling them they are anything but ordinary. The extraordinary transformation process begins by first catching, and then rejecting any and all negative thoughts about who you are and what you can accomplish. People who are extraordinary have a system that helps them catch thoughts that say, ‘I can’t, I’m not good enough, I’m stupid, I’ll never make it’, or whatever the negative and limiting thoughts may be, and they immediately transform them into the opposite.

There is almost nothing that can’t be accomplished with the right mindset, while there is almost nothing that can be accomplished with the wrong one. The process of becoming extraordinary starts with the cancellation and replacement of ordinary thoughts and ideas, and especially ones that are negative and limiting, with ones that remind us that we already have within us everything required to be extraordinary.

One of the best practices I ever learned, and practice to this day, is starting earlier in the morning than ordinary people. I’m not saying, by the way, that I’m extraordinary in some way, but simply that I believe I’ve been able to accomplish more than I would have been able to accomplish otherwise by thinking a little differently than those around me, and also by doing some of the things we’re going to talk about. One of those things is simply getting up earlier than average people. We hear it all the time from people like Jocko Willink, or David Goggins, or people who have amassed incredible fortunes and accomplished great things, that so much more can be accomplished and programmed into your brain when you get up even one hour earlier than the average person. Said another way, if you want to remain average, sleep in, it’s ok. If you want to be ‘extra’, start getting up one hour earlier than average people. Please note, I didn’t say get up one hour earlier than you’re used to getting up. I didn’t say get up at 8am if you’re used to waking up at 9am. I said to be extraordinary, you have to get up earlier than the average person. The average person wakes up between 5am and 7am. Studies have been done and show consistently that about 50% of humans wake up some time between 5 and 7am, and they do this most likely to get ready for work. If they had a choice, a good portion of those would sleep an hour or two more. What that means is that most of those people are waking up because they have to, not because they force themselves to, that would be extra.

If you want to go from ordinary to extraordinary, you simply must have a morning routine, and that morning routine must include waking up earlier than the average person. When the majority of the world is waking up between 5am and 7am and doing their own morning routines, which, by the way, for the average person simply means coffee, bathroom routine, scrolling social media, watching the news, breakfast, and off to work; and you wake up an hour before all of them, that additional time in the morning, when the rest of the world is silent, is a magical time. I can tell you from experience because I started waking up around 4am every morning to read, write, study, research, and generally just grow as a person and it’s the most productive, and also the most mentally and emotionally fulfilling time during my day. It’s also the time of day when your brain is most open and susceptible to positive input from you.

If you want to be extra and go beyond ordinary, your morning routine must also include some sacred time when you are tilling the mental garden, so to speak. If you do nothing else with your early morning routine but speak positively to yourself with affirmations of your innate greatness, the time itself will be extraordinary. Within a very short period of time, you will be worlds ahead of the average person whose heads are filled with negative self-talk and useless mental chatter. Phase one of any plan to be extraordinary starts with a disciplined mental routine that includes positive mental seed planting and encouragement and waking up earlier than the average ordinary individual.

If phase one of the plan is to first ‘be’ extra, phase two of any type of plan to be extra is to do extraordinary things. No, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go skydiving and cliff jumping. Sometimes people hear ‘extraordinary’ and think ‘dangerous’ or ‘exciting’. While I will never discourage anyone from doing exciting things, neither dangerous nor exciting is required to be extraordinary. You might find this completely underwhelming when talking about being extraordinary, but doing extraordinary things often simply means sticking to a boring plan over a long period of time. What do I mean? Going from ordinary to extraordinary is sticking to your new year’s resolution to eat better and get in better shape 5 years after you made it. Ordinary people quit their plan by February 18th, extraordinary people get up each and every morning and just get after it even though they don’t feel like it.

Doing extraordinary things does not mean making the news, being the next Michael Jordan, being fabulously wealthy, or being the best at a particular thing. Doing extraordinary things simply means keeping your commitments to yourself and other people because the vast majority of people quit when things get tough or uncomfortable. Time is the great equalizer and being extraordinary often just means still doing it years later. Long after everybody else has given up, there’s that one man or woman still getting after it consistently, day in and day out. One of the habits of extraordinary people which allows them to be extraordinary is using some of their early morning routine to plan. Preplanning to be extraordinary is one of the secrets that’s not really a secret. When you wake up an hour earlier than the average person, and your brain is clear and filled with messages of positivity and self-encouragement, that’s the time to begin planning out what an extraordinary day, week, month, and year will look like for you.

I may sound like a broken record with this one, but if you don’t have any goals or aspirations written out, my recommendation is to start there. When you have something you’re aiming for and pulling you into a compelling future, it becomes much easier to write out what today, tomorrow, next week, and next month should look like from an activities standpoint because your activities should be centered around where you want to be in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 36 months. Without that vision, every day simply becomes firefighting. Without that vision to be extraordinary, every day simply becomes whomever and whatever needs your attention and energy the most. Without that vision, you don’t know what to say ‘no’ to, which is one of the most important traits of the extraordinary. Ordinary people say ‘yes’ to too many of the wrong things. Extraordinary people are very clear on what gets a ‘yes’ and what gets a ‘no’.

So, phase two of becoming extraordinary is to do extraordinary things, and doing extraordinary things simply means to do what ordinary people are unwilling to do. Ordinary people are typically unwilling to examine their belief systems. Ordinary people are unwilling to critically question what they’re told. Ordinary people are typically unwilling to accept change. Ordinary people are obsessed with their own comfort. Ordinary people have a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset. Ordinary people play what’s called a finite game instead of an infinite game. With a finite game, there are known players, known rules, a known objective, and an end to the game. With an infinite game, there are both known and unknown players, no definite rules, no real clear boundaries, and there is no end state. The goal of an infinite game is simply to keep playing it. Since there is no winner or end to an infinite game, the main objective is to outwit, outplay, and outlast all the other players. Ordinary people are inflexible and unwilling to pivot or change when new information is presented. I feel only slightly bad in saying this, but most people are simply unwilling to be extraordinary, my friends, which means the field of play is wide open for you to be extra.

If phase one is to cultivate extraordinary thinking and an extraordinary mindset, and phase two is to do extraordinary things, phase three is to find and surround yourself with other extraordinary people. I’ve talked about all three of these phases many times before, and using different language and context, and I cannot emphasize this one again enough! Life is relatively short, and our time is limited on this journey. If you’re surrounded by the average, the ordinary, and the common in life, that is likely what you will become. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not saying ordinary or average people are bad people. I’m not saying that, just because your friends don’t have the same aspirations or motivations as you that you have to get rid of them. Our friends are friends for a reason and, as long as they bring value to our lives and we bring value to theirs, there’s no reason to jettison those relationships. However, on the path to extraordinary, if you’re not also intentionally seeking out relationships with people that are also doing and being extra, you will have a very difficult time becoming extra yourself.

I’ve talked before about sails and anchors, which are the people in life who either lift us up and make us better, or they drag us down and keep us ordinary, or worse! This may sound like a harsh exercise, but I recommend taking a sheet of paper and dividing it in half. On the left-hand side of the page, you write down the names of people who currently lift you up, make you feel better about yourself, push you to be more than you’re being, and just generally represent positive influences in your life. What I also recommend writing on that side of the page are the people you’d like to be around, for whatever reason. If you don’t have even a short list of people you aspire to meet, to be around, even if for only a short period of time, and to be influenced by, I strongly suggest you start giving that some thought. It helps put your focus on other extraordinary people you want to be more like in some way, and extraordinary energy is contagious. When you get around extraordinary people, the extra part rubs off a bit.

Unfortunately, negative and downgraded energy is contagious too, and we cannot avoid filling out the right-hand side of that page. This is where you must write down all of the people in your life who make you feel smaller, they bring you down in some way, they make you want to abandon your dreams and desires, they’d rather play it safe than take some risks, they’d rather be comfortable than ambitious, and/or they’re simply horrible influences in your life. This side of the page is difficult to write out, not necessarily because of the truly negative people you may put on that side, but for all the names of people who aren’t necessarily negative and drag you down. There are people in your life who are genuinely good people. They want the best for you and for themselves, but maybe they don’t know how to think bigger or be a little extra, and they have no interest in that. These are not necessarily people you cut out of your life. However, the benefit of this kind of exercise is that, when you see the names on that side of the page, you have now identified an area of your life that you have to be intentional about. Some of those people, the good but average we’ll call them, are simply people that can stay in your life, you just have to limit your time with them.

As I say on almost every show in some way, time is our most valuable asset, currency, and resource, and it’s extremely limited. You have to choose where you will invest your focus, who you spend time with, whether or not that will help you, limit you, or harm you, and who gets some of your energy. The second law of thermodynamics teaches us that energy always moves from a high state to low state, from high energy to low energy, from high temperature to lower temperature, and from high concentration to lower concentration. What this means when it comes to personal relationships is that a higher energy person always gives away their high energy to a lower energy individual. An extraordinary person will always give their energy away to the ordinary individual, not the other way around. High energy always moves to low energy. If you’re trying to put air into a tire using an air compressor, the air compressor has to have more pounds per square inch of air pressure within it than the tire it’s trying to inflate. If the tire has 35 pounds of air pressure, and the compressor has 32 pounds of air pressure, the tire you’re trying to inflate will actually give off roughly 3 pounds of its own air pressure to equalize the difference in the two vessels. And the same is true of humans.

Have you ever left a breakfast or lunch meeting with one of your friends and felt drained afterwards because you gave more of yourself than what you got in return? Again, this doesn’t make them bad people, nor does it make them people you can’t hang out with. But if it is a pattern that you recognize with that person, the responsibility is on you to limit that time lest you give away all of your vital energy during those interactions. If you want to be extraordinary, you’ve got to know how your energy works, where your time and energy is best spent, where you are uplifted and energized the most, and where your value might be in giving to others. Some of those friends, and we all have them, are people we love dearly, but they’re people that we simply know we’re going to have to uplift when we meet with them. If you set your mind and energy appropriately prior to meeting up with them, all is good. You’ll need some recovery time afterwards, but all is good. I’m simply advocating being intentional with your list of people and cultivating a list of people you consider to be extraordinary and want to be around more.

Going from ordinary to extraordinary is literally just adding the extra. Phase one is extraordinary thinking and having an extraordinary morning routine, phase two is doing extraordinary things, which essentially means keeping your commitments and doing a little extra, and phase three is being intentional with the people you surround yourself with and seeking out some extraordinary relationships.

Until next week, my friends, I’m out…

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