THE BLOG
03/17/2013 10:34 am ET Updated May 17, 2013

How to Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary!

I have spent my entire life growing up in the personal development industry and have coached hundreds of clients from around the world in achieving Rapid Results in their life and business. Over the years I have found that one of the key ingredients of incredibly successful entrepreneurs is their ability to identify areas they must improve on in their life and constantly strengthen their weakest points to ensure they are constantly growing and expanding their ability to conquer new challenges that arise.

Being coached by my father early on in life I was given the challenge to learn a few lessons that I feel gave me an edge over many others in today's market. The story below will walk you through my experience of learning to fully apply this tool as well as give you the steps and challenge you to do the same in your life and business!

A Summer Job and a Lesson in Strength

To set the scene, it was the summer of my Junior year at the University of San Diego. Normally the goal for a college student in the summer is to get a summer job, an internship, or take additional courses to get ahead and graduate early. None of these were the options that my coach suggested for that summer. He suggested and arranged with my step-grandfather up in Canada for me to come up for the summer to learn how strong I really am as a man. I never would have imagined the impact that this summer would have on my life and the edge that it would provide for me both in life and business!

My summer job was going to be stacking lumber (hard labor) at a lumber yard just outside of Vancouver, Canada. When I arrived at grandpa's house he gave me an overview of how my day to day life was going to look like for the next three months. He told me that I would be picked up on the side of the freeway each morning at 6 a.m. (sharp!) by a van of workers and we would drive about an hour north to the lumber yard and begin working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. stacking lumber.

The various stacks of lumber had boards weighing between a few pounds all the way up to four to 500 pounds. The job consisted of taking lumber from a wet stack and "sticking" it (placing a bunch of thin sticks between each layer as we re-stacked the lumber to leave a space in-between each piece so it could go into the dryer). About a week later we would then re-stack the same lumber from a dry stack to a "tight" stack to be wrapped and shipped out to companies and people who had purchased it.

Learning to Love the Experience

Seeing that the family had bets on "how long I'd last" I made it a point to step up and over deliver (this is a trait I have kept and use daily in my business to ensure my clients are always given way more than they'd expect). My goal was to get up at 4:30 a.m., work out in the gym for 30 minutes (lifting weights and running at least two miles), eat breakfast, get down to the side of the freeway to get picked up, work the entire day stacking lumber and eventually return home. Before dinner I hit the gym for another 30-40 min before having dinner and getting to bed for the next day.

What I learned in this experience, working six days a week for three months, was both how strong I really was and, more importantly, how to find the mental, emotional and physical strength to take a seemingly boring and repetitive task that I had absolutely no passion for and turn it into an experience that I loved and actually looked forward to doing each day.

Side Note:

What tasks in your business (or life) do you have to do daily/weekly/monthly that you hate (or strongly dislike) to do?

Think of that task as you read the rest.

Two Principles to Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary

Many entrepreneurs, small business owners and young professionals will face activities in their day to day life that they just are not "passionate" about and/or straight up hate to do! One of the greatest gifts they can give themselves is to learn how to take the seemingly boring or mundane task and learn to love it!

There are two principles they will have to master to turn the ordinary into extraordinary.

These principles are:

  • The ability to shift their perception about how they view the activity
  • The ability to shift their procedure of how they go about physically doing the activity.
Perception and Procedure

When I first arrived at the lumber with the 14 other men (non of whom spoke English) and was walked through how to properly stack the lumber, it seemed to be fun. Simply pick up a piece of lumber from one stack, walk over a few feet, and place it down on the other stack. After a few hours of this repetitive activity I was not enjoying it at all. I first got bored, then started getting frustrated. After the emotion built up, I then started building a story in my mind... a story around how I had obviously undervalued myself; this was a horrible decision; I was wondering how much I was going to get paid for all this work (one thing I had forgotten to ask before accepting the challenge); and began to find every single thing that I did not like about what I was doing.

I was 100% certain that if I kept this mindset I would not make it even a week through this three month challenge.

Challenging Myself to Change My Perception

I challenged myself to answer the following questions...

  • What is great about this experience?
  • What do I (or can I) enjoy about this experience?
  • How can I grow from this experience?
  • How will this experience assist me in the rest of my life?

My first response was....

  • NOTHING!
  • NOTHING!
  • I am not going to at all!
  • It is not, simply a waste of time!

I knew I could do better than these answers so I asked again... (until I came up with a better answer):

I finally came up with this...

What is great about this experience is that I am outside in a beautiful part of the world, and I am basically at the "gym" (I started to identify all the different ways I could pick up a board and related it to different weight lifting exercises at the gym). I soon found myself doing bicep curls, tricep kick backs, squats, lunges, shoulder rows, back flys, dead lifts and many other exercises.

What I could enjoy about this experience is that I now had 3 months of toning, sculpting and strengthening my body daily!

How can I grow... I had an idea, I was going to get an iPod and load it with as many great audiobooks and personal development programs as I could get my hands on and everyday both expand my mind by learning everything I possibly could as well as physically growing in strength daily!

This experience will be one of the greatest lessons in my entire life and certainly one that has massively impacted my business.

Through answering those questions I was able to shift my mindset from "hating" the task that I needed to get done each day and turning it into an activity that I actually really enjoyed and actually looked forward to each day (even though at some points I wasn't sure if I could even walk, my body was so sore!)

A Challenge for You...

My hope in sharing this simple story with you is to inspire you to sift through your life and business to identify the activities that you have been putting off or avoiding because you simply dislike having to do them. As you identify these activities I would challenge you to find a way to shift your perception and/or procedure and turn these activities into ones that you can learn to love to do. The gift you will give yourself (beyond getting the necessary work done) is that you will now have the ability to turn an "ordinary" activity into an "extraordinary" experience in your life.

Final thought... if you had the ability to take something you hate to do and through simply shifting your perception or procedure learn to love it... what freedom do you feel that will provide for you in your life and business? How much more effective will you be? How would it affect your personal life?

You would never imagine the freedom this will give you, the amount of fulfillment it will add to your life and the pride in knowing you are able to take a mundane task and turn it into something you are passionate about.

To your success!