“Ordinary” Day? No Such Thing!
“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”
– Maya Angelou
Everyone is asked this question occasionally: “How was your day?”
If posed after a workday, the responses might be pretty standard.
“Fine.” “OK.” “Nothing out of the ordinary.”
It’s not surprising. Many people perceive that one workday doesn’t differ much from another. So, they answer accordingly.
True, some days do stand out more than others. My recent experience at Young Guns, the inspirational speakers event that I helped organize and lead, was certainly one. Feeling the power of so many passionate people, all gathered to collaborate and learn, was a rush like few others.
Our monthly gatherings of C Suite for Christ, the Christian professionals group I lead, are unbelievably energizing. Sharing the Gospel with like-minded followers of Jesus is an awesome start to the day … and that’s an understatement.
What do these two have in common? Both involve close interactions with others with strong shared personal interests. Naturally, they stand out.
Yet, most of us don’t experience this every day – especially when we’re busy earning a living. Don’t let these circumstances trick you, though, into believing that these days are rote, or repetitive, or, heaven forbid, “ordinary.”
My recent articles have focused on a truth that life is finite – sometimes, unfortunately short – and we should focus on meaningful relationships and living fully. I offered suggestions to adjust your mindset to better embrace all that life offers.
To dive into this further, I’ll pull a few pieces from my “Instantaneous Differentiation” keynote presentation, which I delivered at Young Guns. This is one of the most popular programs from my work as an inspirational speaker.
I often present “Instant Differentiation” as a sales training tool. Its premise is fundamental: Unless we’re talking about paper towels at Wal-Mart, people don’t buy products or services – they buy people.
A bright salesperson leads by selling themselves. Their opening approach touches a prospect on a deep emotive level. They come across as human, non-threatening … and relatable. The spark of a relationship appears, ready to ignite.
The window to make this imprint, though, is short – literally, seconds. Miss it, and the opportunity flickers out.
Think about all the people you encounter every day. Can you use this principle to make their day better … and maybe, for them, not so ordinary?
Consider a trip after work to the grocery store. Upon entering, you notice someone about 10 steps behind you. Despite the fact that it uses seconds – OMG! – of your prized time, you hold the door, so it doesn’t slam in their face. They smile and thank you.
Your pantry was beginning to resemble Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Consequently, your cart is pretty packed. Behind you in the checkout line is a guy with a loaf of bread and container of milk. You invite him to go ahead. He smiles and thanks you.
Upon reaching the cashier, you put your cell phone away. You talk with the person. When finished, you wish them an enjoyable evening. They smile and thank you.
In the short duration of a shopping trip, you’ve had instantaneous, positive impacts on three people. Really didn’t take much effort, right? Yet, you don’t know what kind of day those people had. Maybe, just maybe, your small gestures made it better than “ordinary.”
Whom else do you see regularly, where you might have the same effect? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Neighbors?
Need more? OK. I’ll tell you why my days are never “ordinary.”
I tell my wonderful wife I love her. I engage with my amazing kids. I partner with incredibly smart co-workers at the Starr Group. After work, I often talk with, or see, fellow professionals whose perspectives I value. Sometimes I address wonderful audiences as a keynote speaker.
Some might call this “daily life.” Oh, it’s not. It’s a smorgasbord of intellectual stimulation, emotional uplift and rewarding encounters. See, it’s all about perspective.
Live life with zest. Understand, and be thankful, for the blessings in your life. Grab every opportunity to make someone else’s day better. Pause here and there, and take it all in.
You’ll realize that every day is far from “ordinary.” You have the power to make it extraordinary.
Do it. Make it happen. You’ll love the feeling … and you’ll have a better answer when the inevitable question crops up.
(Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, Founder/CEO of The Cold Call Coach, and a globe-trotting inspirational keynote speaker. Don’t miss his three-part webinar series, Paul’s Emergency Sales Kit, filled with timely instruction and advice for salespeople during a challenging period. Or, for an even deeper dive, try Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.)