Two millennia ago in the Roman Empire, a Roman officer could compel anyone to carry a load one mile. It was the officer’s right, and a person refused at his peril. So to walk the first mile was to do what was required. I’m recommending you not only do that, but strive to go above and beyond that. See the extra mile as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others, to add value to people.
A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who:
• Cares more than others think is wise.
• Risks more than others think is safe.
• Dreams more than others think is practical.
• Expects more than others think is possible.
• Works more than others think is necessary.
As my friend Zig Ziglar says, “There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.” If you always do more than is expected, not only will you rise up above the crowd, you will help others to rise up with you.
A friend recounted a trip he and his wife had just returned from. They had driven from Mobile, Ala., to West Texas to visit the widow of a college buddy who had suddenly died. He and his wife felt like they needed to go check on his friend’s widow.
During the visit my friend discovered that the widow had no insurance and had been left with very little money. So my friend walked the second mile. He arranged to have her whole financial world evaluated, and in the meantime he paid for her insurance ahead for the next year. He still calls her every week to check on her.
She asked as he was leaving, “Why would you go to all the trouble and sacrifice to do this for me?” My friend responded, “Because your husband would have wanted me to. Because you are family. And because it is the right thing to do. It is what I would want someone to do for my wife if I died suddenly.”
The road of the second mile is sometimes a road that demands a few things extra from us. It’s not easy on us. It’s often time-consuming, expensive, and tiresome. But that’s why it’s called the “extra” mile.
1. A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who cares more than others think is wise.
“Kindness is a language the dumb can speak and the deaf can hear and understand.” – Christian Bovee
It is a very old saying but it is still as profound as the first time it was uttered. And it will be true until there is no one else walking on the earth. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Do you truly care …
About those around you?
About your organization?
The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized…No greater burden can be born by an individual than to know no one cares or understands. –Arthur H. Stainback
2. A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who risks more than others think is safe.
Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.-– Dale Carnegie
On a scale of 1 to 10, what level of risk are you willing to live by to go the second mile?
________ Personal Life
________ Work Life
________ Community Life
3. A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who dreams more than others think is practical.
The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can’t make anyone believe he has it. – Will Rogers
Which is a bigger influence on your behavior: dreams or practicality? Why?
4. A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who expects more than others think is possible.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Why?
5. A person with an extra-mile attitude is someone who works more than others think is necessary.
I am glad that the eight-hour day had not been invented when I was a young man. If my life had been made up of eight-hour days I do not believe I could have accomplished a great deal. – Thomas Edison
What is your determining factor for knowing you have done well at work?
6. Why should we go the second mile?
Simply imagine yourself in the place of another person. Simply ask, “How would I like to be treated in this situation?” Understanding the Golden Rule helps you identify who might be affected and how they might be impacted by the actions you choose to take.
One of the wonderful things about the Golden Rule is that it makes the intangible tangible. You don’t need to know the law. You don’t need to explore nuances of philosophy. You simply imagine yourself in the place of another person. Even a small child can get a handle on that. There are no complicated rules or loopholes.
When I say that success has no secrets, I am thinking of the Golden Rule as the pathway. There certainly are no secrets about the Golden Rule.—J.C. Penney
No complicated rules. No loopholes. No secrets. Simple as that! A genuine consideration of others is essential to an ethical life.
Doing my best at this present moment puts me in the best place for the next moment.”—Oprah Winfrey