While other kids my age were taking piano or guitar lessons, I was taking organ lessons and at ten years old I was thrust into playing at my church. I developed into a decent organist who played with four fingers and the pedal. I thought I had it covered until Mrs. V came up one Sunday and sat on the bench next to me. She lovingly said, “Do it again. Play that song again but with feeling. It won’t take any extra effort and if you don’t do it with feeling, don’t do it at all.” I loved Mrs. V like my second mom so there wasn’t really any question what I would do next. I played the song again and this time with feeling. It’s hard to describe exactly what I did differently other than to say that I consciously put feeling into it. At the end of the song, I looked over and she had a big smile on her face that said, “Good job.” I was pretty proud and it felt different. No extra effort, no extra time but the song went from regular to extraordinary.
How much of your work and lives are regular, ordinary and without much feeling? That doesn’t make them or you bad…just regular. The meetings you run, the walk to the break room, the emails you respond to, the 2:30 cup of coffee and countless other tasks that come and go in regular fashion and make no impression at all.
Here’s eight ways to consciously put more feeling in the “regular” stuff you do all day and add a little extraordinary to your day. It will make a huge impact and take little to no extra effort or time.
- Smile – Smile as you walk in the hall, stand in the elevator or even sit at your own desk
- Look into someone’s eyes – When talking to someone, look deeply in their eyes wanting to really “get” the other person
- Listen – Listen to what is being said, what is not being said and what is behind what’s said. Lean in a little bit too. The other person will notice.
- Gratitude – Focus on one aspect of what you’re about to do that you are grateful for
- Ask – Instead of jumping to “tell” mode, ask a question that you don’t know the answer to.
- Give a “high five” – When someone does something really well, makes a good point or makes you laugh, give them a high five or fist bump.
- Skip the email – Pick up the phone and call the person you were about to send an email to
- Change your energy – Change seats from your default spot, jog in place right before a call or meeting or take ten slow, deep breaths.
What would you add to this list?
Which of the eight will you do to move today from regular to extraordinary?