I was recently listening to Mixergy (one of my favorite business podcasts) interview Jayson Gaignard, author of Mastermind Dinners (book review here) on the topic of “How to Amaze People with Big Gestures.” They were discussing a recent event Jayson put on and how he went above and beyond with just the invitations. Rather than something on paper or even a personalized video, he sent LCD cards that when opened showed 3 videos. The first was a personalized message to the attendee along with 2 other standard videos. He recorded 150 of these, plus the cost of all the LCD cards. I wanted to quote a bit of the exchange below:
Andrew: And every one of them is customized. Dude, it would have been beautiful if you just said, “Here’s the location that we’re going to and I’m explaining to you how beautiful this event is,” but why go the extra mile then and spend four freaking days making personalized messages for people?
Jayson: Because the extra mile is never crowded. It’s one of those things. I put a ton of pressure on myself now. The first year what I did was I did audio recordings and I sent people audio recordings. The second year I did personalized videos. The third year, I did this. So, next year, I have no clue what I’m going to do. I feel like I have to show up at their house.
I’ve been thinking about that exchange for several months now. I listen to probably 20-40 hours of podcasts per week. Tons of fun ones like This American Life or No Agenda, educational ones like Hardcore History and a lot of business content like Smart Passive Income and Mixergy. It’s hard for any one line in those things to really stick with me and make me think long-term. I’m usually just too busy and on to the next thing. For some reason that one stuck because I’d never heard the quote (though when I google it, it looks like its not new) and it really resonated with me about how I try to live my life and accomplish my goals.
The Extra Mile is Never Crowded
This applies to so many parts of life, both big and small, personal and business, and for the rich and the poor.
A lot of what people like to call luck, timing, or my current least favorite word – Privilege – is going the extra mile. I preach this constantly, but never thought to add the best part, which is why that extra mile is so crucial. NOBODY ELSE IS THERE!
In high school I grinded it out for a scholarship. In college I fought for the top of the heap with top grades, involvment in on campus organizations, and emailed every alumni on Wall Street I could find in hopes of a solid internship. I applied to over 100 internships, got 5 callbacks and 1, let me repeat ONE, offer. I then graduated in 2008 and watched that dream fall apart. Instead of letting that setback knock me down, I pushed forward in to a new industry and while I’m not CEO, I’ve carved out a pretty solid position for myself at the ripe age of 30. In short, I’ve always fought for that extra mile.
In every side hustle I’ve succeeded at, I was putting in my time at 1-2am. Reading every single thing I could find on the topic. Reaching out to others and trying to get up the pile. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not even remotely there yet. Not even a little bit. But I’m still fighting for another mile, because I need to get past that crowd. One small example is that when our Amazon customers have had problems with our product (we had some initial manufacturing problems) we immediately responded to their emails, refunded their money AND offered them promo codes for a free item. People were FLOORED because nobody is making that effort.
Do you remember the last time somebody surprised or delighted you? Mostly likely they were way out the curve, going that extra mile, where you’ve never met anybody before. I certainly remember the brands that sent me personalized thank you cards on my first purchase or had amazing customer support. I remember the kids who were HUNGRY for the job. They may not have had the top #1 resume, but they followed up with an email and a call and demonstrated knowledge and interest about our company and industry. That’s worth a lot more than an A in Spanish or your participation in some campus organization.
If you want to win, then try to delight and surprise your audience. Be memorable.
Are You Getting Out of the Crowd?
Did you really want that job you applied for? So did the other 1,000 online applicants. How many of them do you think got on Linkedin and reached out personally to the hiring manager or someone in the organization? I can promise you it was a lot less than 1,000. How many of those who emailed, called the front desk, asked for that person, and left them a personal message? Probably nobody. Maybe 1.
Do you want to lose that extra 10 pounts and look like MBJ in Creed? We’ve talked about the Rock’s workout regiment before. Those are men who EVERY SINGLE DAY go the extra mile. Who else is in the gym at 5am or 11pm depending on when their plane lands? Nobody.
If you want people to know your name. If you want the job. The fans. The body. Whatever it is you want. Go the damn extra mile, because I can promise you… it might be lonely but it’s certainly not crowded.
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