I recently read 212 The Extra Degree: Extraordinary Results Begin with One Small Change. It’s a small book that only took a couple of hours to read, but it made a powerful point. At 211 degrees you have hot water, at 212 degrees you have boiling water, and with boiling water you have steam. Steam can power a locomotive. Sometimes just a little extra effort can make the difference between being average and being great at what you do.
There is a great story told of former President Jimmy Carter. When he was in the Navy he applied to serve on a nuclear submarine. At the time, every officer serving on a nuclear ship had to be personally interviewed by Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy. For two hours the Admiral interviewed Carter. Towards the end of the interview he asked Carter about his standing in the Naval Academy. Carter responded with some pride that he graduated 59th in a class of 820. Rickover then asked him if he had always done his best. Carter started to answer yes, but as he looked at Rickover he admitted that he had not always done his best. Carter wrote that Rickover looked at him for a long time and then turned his chair back around to his desk indicating the interview was over.
At the end of each day we need to ask if we gave it our best that day. Did we do the little extra that would lead to much greater success in our careers, our families, our personal lives? Did we just do what’s expected, or did we go beyond that to the 212th degree. Zig Ziglar used to tell his audiences that the days of job security were over. The only thing we could count on now was employment security, and if you were a person who consistently did far more than what was expected you would never have to worry about being out of work. There is always someone looking for the person willing to go the extra mile.
Be willing to make one more call each day. Be willing to do what others won’t do so you stand out. Be willing to learn something new every day so you can become an expert in your field. Be committed to being the best you can be in every area of your life. With that type of commitment you will enjoy success in each of those areas far beyond what many others will ever know.