I believe that in life, there’s one solitary, secret ingredient that not only separates “success” from “failure”, but also “success” from “SUPER” success; in other words, by applying just one strategy on a consistent basis, we can pretty much ensure not only will things go our way, but that they’ll do so in a super-sized, titanic way. And from what I’ve seen, those who employ this strategy pretty much see a 100% success rate for their efforts.
As you’ve probably figured out, the “secret ingredient” I’m talking about has something to do with our attitude; let’s face it – everyone knows that healthy, positive attitudes generally produces better results than poor, half assed attitudes, right? However, something many folks seem to miss is that cranking it up the positivity a tad more to bring an exceptional attitude to a situation almost always guarantees to bring corresponding exceptional results – Even better, adding a wee bit extra bit “Go Juice” only takes a touch more energy more than we are already putting in; and if you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that’s a small investment to make in exchange for a whopping great return!
The “Secret Ingredient” I’m referring to is what we like to call our “A” game; which is another way of saying we should always go above and beyond what’s expected of us, regardless of size or scope of what we are doing. And since the habit of bringing an “A” game” to the table is the trait of great leaders and achievers, I’m suggesting it’s a good idea for us to follow their lead in every situation/interaction we have as well. And from what I’ve seen, whenever folks do bring their “A” game, two incredible things seem to happen…
First, the people we are surrounded by begin seeing us as committed, caring individuals who they can count on to always give our very best to every situation; and secondly, consistently bringing our “A Game” opens up even more potential opportunities for us to do cool things, meet cool people, and have some very unique experiences… and seriously, isn’t that what we’re trying to do anyway?
5% – 10% More Effort Is All It Takes
And to be clear, upping the ante to bring an “A Game” is rarely a huge investment – to see a noticeable return usually only requires jacking our efforts up a mere 5% or 10%, which is not huge at all. And since anything we do is worth doing right, adding 5% more effort towards anything seems like a no-brainer – especially for those who want to live each and every day large, large, LARGE… makes a lot of sense, right?
So with this in mind, here are a few ways I’ve found that anyone – by simply adding 5% – 10% extra effort – can bring their best “A” game to the table, and thereby turn their daily successes into a “super-duper” successes! And who knows? Maybe there’s a chance to create a few smiles or change a few lives along the way… – and if these are the results, it totally makes it worth the extra effort, don’t you thing? I thought so~! So if you’re ready, let’s get started with:
ELEVEN WAYS TO BRING YOUR “A” GAME
Daily Grooming: This one should be a no-brainer, but let’s face it – we’re all guilty (including me!) of leaving the house looking “less than our best” at times, and even wind up making excuses when we feel like we’ve been “busted” caught doing so… Here’s the deal: If we’re running off to the gym or nipping out to the store at 7:00 a.m. to grab cream for our morning coffee (because we didn’t bother picking it up on the way home last night) it’s unreasonable to expect us, or anyone else to be dressed to impress, right?
Sure it is, and I get it: At times like these we can often get a free pass for looking unkept and a bit dishevelled; but what about the rest of the times? I’m talking during our daily routines, when – even a quick trip to the bank or to grab some groceries – we should always make an effort to look presentable enough so we don’t come off like an extra on “The Walking Dead”, and here’s why – You just never know who you are going to run into when you are out and about. I’ve made this error only once, because once was enough… I can still feel the embarrassment… The bottom line is that whenever you are in a position where you’ll see other people, you should always do your best to look presentable.
Strategy: “A” Gamers always make the effort to put forth the best image possible, by making sure they are properly groomed at all times.
Engage with Service People, Colleagues & Strangers: I truly believe that the very best way to brighten both our own lives, AS WELL as the lives of others, is through simple, kind, human connections. I’ve said this a million times, and will say it a million more – take a moment to genuinely interact with all the people you encounter during the day and see they joy they get from your kindness.
I’m talking holding doors open for strangers, offering to help someone who is lost, asking the cashier/teller/server/barista “How was your weekend?” and actually listening to what they say, letting the person with 4 items “jump the line” at the store, etc. – these simple micro-interactions are all “A” game enhancers that affect everyone involved, including us. Even better; as these daily exchanges become more and more habitual, they make the “engagement” part of our “A” game an omnipresent part of “who we are” – and how great is that?
Strategy: “A” Gamers are friendly, polite and conversational with everyone they encounter throughout the day.
Being Organized: Having your act together is a simple way to ensure things go your way with as few hiccups as possible. For instance, if on the drive home the red “low gas” light is blinking, don’t procrastinate until tomorrow morning – go get the gas! Remember, an ounce of prevention always trumps a pound of cure, and not putting off small tasks today WILL definitely make tomorrow go smoother!
Strategy: “A” Gamers plan ahead, and NEVER procrastinate; they make a point of taking care of small tasks BEFORE they become BIG problems!
Don’t EVER Be Late For Anything: To be blunt, barring any major catastrophe there’s simply no excuse for being late for meetings, appointments, etc. – in fact, being late with a flimsy (and usually fabricated) excuses is for me, the ultimate in disrespect for the people we are meeting. It basically says “I don’t care about you or your time”, not a very becoming way to treat other people. “A” game people are not only on time, but usually a bit early…
Strategy: “A” Gamers always try and show up early, and make sure they respect other peoples time and commitments; on the off chance they will be late, they always call and let the other party know.
Always Make Sure Your Home & Vehicle are Clean and Presentable: I heard a great maxim once that summarizes why this idea is a key for success – “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”. Basically what this means is that we treat all aspects of our life the same, which in turn makes our habits transparent to everyone else around us. If we present ourselves as well groomed and well dressed, people might be impressed with us; however, if the same people then get into our car and notice it’s littered with garbage, empty pop tins and used coffee cups; or come to our home that’s unkept, messy and dirty, they’ll quickly realize that the nice clothes we are wearing are just a facade, and that maybe – just maybe – the messes in our car and home represent the “real us”. It’s true: Our habits show up in every area of our life, including our approach to both our job, and our relationships.
Strategy: “A” Gamers keep EVERYTHING in their life clean, tidy and organized, so others know (a) what to expect, and (b) what they can count on from them.
Curb The Profanity: I’d be lying if I didn’t say this one is tough for me; however, NOT swearing is a sure way to help up your verbal “A” game. It’s tough at times, especially if like me, you have a potty-mouth, or are surrounded by people who punctuate everything with the “F-word”; but trust me, constantly substituting “fuck”, “shit” and “asshole” for more acceptable words create discomfort for, and lack of respect from those within earshot. Even worse, if we habitually use profanity, chances are very good we’ll let it slip out at inappropriate times – like over cocktails with the boss at the Christmas party… which as you can imagine, takes what should be fun, and makes it stressful.
Strategy: “A” Gamers are careful not to use profanity, regardless of the environment or people they are with; they know that it cheapens their message, and they way they are viewed by others.
Always Honour Your Word: Another idea that should be a no-brainer, but somehow many folks struggle with – the idea that we should always DO whatever we say we are going to do, even if we’ve decided you don’t want to… And why would anyone ever do something the don’t want to? Because of one reason; if they made a commitment to someone else to do so, that’s why. It’s pretty simple, really – when we say we’ll do something, we are giving our word. When we don’t do what we say we are going to do, then we are breaking our word, and letting someone else down… and as the old saying goes, “With friends like this, who needs enemies?”. There’s even a social movement out there totally devoted to helping others keep their promises.
Strategy: “A” Gamers always keep their words, honour their commitments, do what they say they are going to, etc. – and as a result, other folks view them as people with honour, integrity who can be counted on… no matter what.
Always Demonstrate Good Manners, and Common Courtesy: As eluded to already, holding doors open for strangers, saying “Please”, “Thank-You” and “Excuse Me”, smiling and being pleasant towards strangers, offering to help someone who needs it, etc. – these are all the good manners and common courtesies that we were told by our mother to do… so what happened? When (and why?) did we stop doing these things? I don’t know the answer, but do know one thing is for sure – Good manners and kindness never goes out of style, as well as are excellent traits that demonstrate leadership. If you aren’t currently doing these things, try starting – you’ll be blown away at the difference they make for you, and the people around you.
Strategy: “A” Gamers ALWAYS demonstrate good manners, and show common courtesy, especially to strangers; they never take the self-righteous route of “Why should I, they don’t do it for me” as an excuse not to be kind to others.
Do The Crappy Jobs No-One Wants To Do: Here’s another key sign of Leadership: Offering to do the dirty work – and I mean “dirty” work – whenever it shows up and needs doing. Let’s face it, nobody pushes to the front of the line when toilets or ovens need cleaning, so offering to tackle those kinds of tasks demonstrates two key leadership points to other people – first, that you don’t mind getting your hands dirty; and secondly, you are a person who takes control of a situation and gets the job done.
To be honest, if you want to take control of any group you are involved in, this is usually the easiest way to rise to the top quickly – by taking on the tasks nobody else wants to do. Take this initiative and before you know it, you’ll be in charge. Oh, and if somebody else has the same idea, then good; you’ll have a kindred spirit – and between the two of you, you’ll run a tight, efficient and effective ship.
Strategy: “A” Gamers always volunteer for the “crappy” jobs; they understand this is a good leadership tactic, and a way to help steer the result of any project.
Buy A Friend Coffee or Lunch: Who doesn’t like being surprised with a free lunch, or nice hot latte from a friend? This simple (and often inexpensive) gesture says a lot about people; it demonstrates their generosity as well as their desire to be social – both admirable qualities that support and nurture any friendship or relationship. And this shouldn’t be done as a “It’s my turn” type obligation – although it would be rude not to also accept it when offered from someone else trying to up their own “A game”, right? The bottom line is this: If you are in a position to, pick up the tab for a coffee, or lunch and make someone else’s day – the impression and gratitude you leave them with will be long lasting, and far more valuable than the few dollars you part with.
Strategy: “A” Gamers show their generosity by picking up the tab every once in a while; they value the feeling they get from doing something kind and expected for their friends.
Buy a Surprise $5- Gift For Friends and/or Family: Speaking of unexpected good feelings, here’s something easy that always brings happiness and joy – buying unexpected gifts for people, that cost $5- or less. Why spend so little, you ask? Simple – Anyone can pick up an unexpected gift for $30 or $40 bucks or more that will “blow” someone away, simply because of it’s value; but a gift for $5- or less usually has much more meaning to it, since it must connect with the recipient on a more personal level. Let’s say that for her birthday, I buy my wife a new jacket that she likes; she’ll be thrilled because it’s something that costs a lot, and now she owns it. But what if on some random Tuesday I either show up at her office, or she comes home from a long day at work to be unexpectedly greeted with $5- worth of tulips or daffodils, and a card that says “I love you!” – Can you imagine how this would brighten an otherwise dull day for her?
How about our kids? What if, just as we are settling in for the night, if we pull out a DVD/blue ray of the film they really wanted to see, and then put out a couple bowls of popcorn, candy, etc. to emulate the night at the movies they missed – can you imagine how excited they’d be? All this joy, connection and fun, for a measly $5 bucks. The point is simple: Inexpensive surprises gifts that say “You are important to me” are an awesome way to strengthen the relationships in our lives.
Strategy: “A” Gamers randomly give inexpensive, yet thoughtful gifts and trinkets to those they love, to let them know they are important.
So there you have it: 11 ways that can help bring your “A” game to various situations and relationships in your daily life. Try one or two as an experiment, and see the affect they have not just on you, but also on the people whose lives you touch. I bet once you get started and see the positive results, you’ll make many of these part of your regular routine.
You’ve probably also noticed how bringing an “A” game is also a key component in being a good leader… and who doesn’t want that? So out you go, and start getting these tips to up your own game to “A” status… trust me when I say that you’ll be glad you did!
And by the way -if you get a chance, please let me know how these strategies work out for you in the comments below!