”Have a really average day!”
Can you imagine saying the above to your spouse or partner as you see them off to work? Or perhaps you say that to your child as they head off to school. Or maybe you even mention this to your colleague as you wind down your first cup of coffee at the office. There are any number of occasions where such a greeting is the exact opposite of what we typically offer. We’re more likely to wish people a great day, wonderful week or some inspired hope for something awesome to happen immediately if not sooner.
Yet there is brilliance in wishing someone - or better yet experiencing - a perfectly average day. To give full credit where it’s due, this wonderful concept was highlighted by International Transformative Coach Michael Neill (www.michaelneill.org) in several of his books including SuperCoach and I love it! He wisely points out that focusing on living an average day EVERY DAY is far better than the imposed limitations of having a great day, super week or the like. A lifetime of average days can add up to an extraordinary life.
Why am I sharing this? First off, I love sharing great ideas and I’m confident this one can be a game changer for you. Equally important, I want to invite you to consider this thinking as it’s the antithesis of how many of us operate. Imagine the cumulative impact of our lives if we could all just live our “average day” every day as opposed to killing it for a week, a month, a quarter - or even a year.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a professional fundraiser (like me). What if each day you committed to doing the minimum. This is like studying to get Cs in school instead of As. Maybe you’re thinking that’s not the way I roll. But let’s say you could commit to doing the following barebones effort every day of your lifetime career as fundraiser:
2 cold calls per day
2 cultivation calls per day
2 new prospects researched and identified every day
Let’s lock this down to doing this every business day of the year - that’s roughly 250 days. We’ll also assume that your skills are as marginal as your effort - you’re successful just 10% of the time. That would look like this over a year.
500 cold calls translating to 50 new prospects
500 cultivation calls translating into 50 upgrades in gifts
500 new prospects identified and researched translating into 50 pre-qualified prospects
You may be reading this thinking what a joke! He’s suggesting I sit around and just do 6 things every day. But truth be told, how many of us fundraisers can honestly say that every year we identify 50 great new prospects, talk to 50 completely new prospects and get 50 people to upgrade their gift? And how many of us do it year after year after year? If you do, I know I’d hire you!
I’m not suggesting being lazy and in my example above, I’d assume you can squeeze a bit more productivity out of your day. But if you’re with me on shifting your thinking, you can get started by doing the following:
STOP Trying to Have a Great Day (week, month, year): This is a seismic shift in what for many of us, particularly achievement and goal oriented individuals, know is a very ingrained mentality. It takes daily thought and practice. So much of life is centered around how we can pack a ton of action into defined brackets of time and goals. We want to lose XYZ pounds in 90 days; train for a marathon for 6 months and crank out the big proposal by the end of next week (and then chill!). These are all worthy achievements but consider including those as parts of your average day.
START Identifying the Key Components of YOUR Average Day: What are the building blocks that make your average day into a truly incredible life (including your personal life, career and personal interests). We looked at an example for work above. If you start adding in telling your partner and kids you love them, doing something healthy, helping a stranger and a few other high priority actions, that wonderfully average day can start to look pretty action packed. But keep it average!
FOCUS on Quality over Quantity: Remember, the numbers are in your favor! Some of you - myself included - might be tempted to play with the math here and decide to squeeze out the additional phone call, email, or whatever. Think of that extra phone call or email every day over the year. Just imagine the exponential impact! ...But don’t do that. Focus on 5 Quality (fill in the blank) per day over 7 so-so (fill in the blank). Doing whatever you do with that extra bit of you and integrity far outweigh the benefits of an additional unit of activity.
Now go out there and BE AVERAGE!
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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