Incorporating focus, kindness, imperfection, connection and joyfulness in your life
Well, it’s finally here. 2021 has arrived. If you’re like most people who’ve been waiting on a new chapter, a new January 2021 to get finally here — you’re likely feeling a sense of disappointment. The dramatic change, shift, or mindset switch that you expected when the clock struck 2021 didn’t happen like you thought it would. All of the challenges you are facing right now did not just magically disappear when the number on the calendar changed. But what did happen (and it happens every day) is you got the gift to be better today than you were yesterday. You got the gift to be alive, make a difference, and to live an extraordinary life!
What’s interesting about the concept of living life to the fullest is that most of us don’t think about “being extraordinary,” we just think about being the best we can be that day. But what we also don’t think about or really see, is the impact we have on others, our family, friends, colleagues, clients and more — that there are extraordinary moments happening every day that add up to your best life. And this holds true for me as well. I’m often asked about my motivation and how I come up with topics to write about in this column, and my simple answer is that real life inspires me — I’m inspired by the people around me, my experiences (both good and bad), and the things I’m learning as well.
Honestly, being extraordinary is not a topic that I would have come up with on my own — and like most of you, I don’t think about the possibility of being extraordinary, much less the potential impact that I can have. Just a few days before Christmas, I got an email from a client whose engagement with me was coming to an end, and it had the most profound impact on me and part of what she wrote, led me to this column.
Though I won’t share who she is or where she works, her message is so powerful that I felt compelled to share it with you. “I’m always grateful for the people that enter my life and forever impact and change my life for the better. Thanks for doing what you do. Keep being extraordinary.” Admittedly, this made me take pause and reflect on my many conversations with her. Had they really been that meaningful, powerful, and impactful? In the essence of the topics and conversations we’d had — had I really done anything extraordinary? You see, getting unexpected acknowledgement and praise for what you do can be hard for many of us to receive, especially for those of us that make a living serving others.
But her last comment really got me thinking about what does it mean to be extraordinary? How do people live an extraordinary life — and so here we are, after some research and organization of my thoughts, I let’s zoom in on this idea here, that according to Merriam-Webster, extraordinary means “going beyond what is usual, regular or customary.”
And while I agree with this basic definition, I also believe that our ability to be extraordinary is part of our DNA, it is also something we have to continuously work at and strive towards.
Extraordinary people live the same life as you and me. They face the same challenges and issues as the rest of us. But what separates them from the ordinary is the strong sense of their values, purpose, vision, and mission to make the world a better place — the overarching goals and commitments of their life drives them to make their life’s vision come to pass.
Based on some research Psychology Today found, there are five common traits of extraordinary people: (1) a focus on things that matter, (2) kindness, (3) a willingness to be imperfect, (4) the ability to connect and (5) joyfulness.
How many of these traits do you have? How many of them do you need to focus on and work towards specifically? Being extraordinary is not something just for the rich and famous or the powerful and privileged as we’ve been conditioned to believe — it’s something that each and everyone of us can be and do, each and every day we live.
There are a lot of extraordinary people in the world who don’t realize they are extraordinary or living an extraordinary life, impacting people with their words, outlook, smile, and encouragement. Like me, they are just doing their jobs, helping others along their path, and working hard to be a bright light in someone's day. If someone you know has impacted you, touched your life, been an example, or just simply touched you in an extraordinary way that will have an impact long-term — tell them, because it’s likely they don’t know. It will be an amazing gift to them and one to you as well.
And to my client, thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. It’s been not only my pleasure but also my honor to work with you and support you along your path!
So, as you march into 2021 facing the unknown, the challenges, and the obstacles that lie ahead, wake up every day and strive to live a life filled with gratitude, kindness and joy, while embracing your imperfection and connecting with others. You have so much to give! Choose to be EXTRAORDINARY!
Please visit my blog at www.sidmeadows.com/blog and share how you are making an impact and be extraordinary.