All Aboard! The Flight to Extraordinary Is Departing!

The question is … will YOU be onboard?

An extraordinary life! Extraordinary relationships, extraordinary health, extraordinary energy, extraordinary career, extraordinary faith, extraordinary finances, extraordinary purpose! Who can have it? Anyone willing to invest in it! And I know you want it!

This past week, I broadcasted five Master Class webinars on designing an extraordinary life. It was so much fun, and if you are one of those who viewed it, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As usual, the feedback that I received after those broadcasts was terrific. One of the most common comments was this: “Other than the three keys you gave us, are there other insights you can provide?” The answer is yes! I could give you many more. But I decided that this week’s blog would be a great place to share one of them.

For years I’ve been using a particular exercise during my sessions, with my clients, and in my workshops and seminars. It always has a significant impact and usually creates some powerful insights. Putting the lessons from this exercise into daily practice is one of the greatest accelerators to extraordinary.

In this exercise, I divide our use of time and energy into five categories:

1. The first category is what I call “First Class living.” Have you ever gone on a long flight, like the 16-hour flight between here and Australia? If you’ve done that First Class, you would probably be excited to do it again. But if you had done it in any other class… You might reconsider! Here’s what qualifies an experience as First Class living:

  • It feels good
  • It is good for you
  • It is good for others
  • It contributes to the greater good
  • It honors God

I think most everyone would agree that First Class is the best way to go. So what are some examples of things from our lives that would fit into First Class living?

  • Going the extra mile
  • Making a difference
  • Sitting in a recliner eating popcorn, watching a great movie

2.  The second category is what I call “Economy or Coach Class living.” Again, not the way you might want to fly to Australia, but not so bad on the 38-minute flight from Dallas to Houston. Here are the qualifiers:

  • It does not feel good
  • It is good for you
  • It is good for others
  • It contributes to the greater good
  • It honors God

Examples of Economy/Coach living:

  • Exercise
  • Honesty with yourself when you make a mistake
  • Taking responsibility with others when you have hurt them

3. The third category is “Cargo living.” I equate it to having to ride in the belly of the plane with all the luggage. Doesn’t sound like too much fun, does it? What are the qualifiers?

  • It feels good
  • It is not good for you
  • It is not good for others
  • It does not contribute to the greater good
  • It does not honor God

Examples of cargo living:

  • Addictions
  • Worrying
  • Judging others
  • Over eating

4. The fourth category of living I call “Jump Seat living.” It’s that little fall down seat in the very front or back of the plane where flight attendants sit during takeoff and landing. Not very comfortable at all, but allows for more space for passengers. What are the qualifiers?

  • It does not feel good
  • It might or might not be good for you
  • It seems to be good for those demanding it
  • It rarely contributes to the greater good
  • It rarely honors God.

Examples of Jump Seat living:

  • Not resolving things that bother you (letting others off the hook)
  • Agreeing to requests or demands from others that could be harmful to you
  • Shutting down and living behind walls
  • Going into funks

Let’s talk about funks. Sometimes this one requires a bit more explanation. Why on earth would someone go into a funk if it does not feel good? Usually because they do not feel safe, and often safety is valued more than how one feels. or how others are impacted. A funk might or might not be good for you… but it might be good for a few moments while you gather yourself. (Be aware of the 90 second rule. If you missed the webinar, you can catch the replay here and learn about the 90 second rule.) And at times it may seem to be good if someone else does not want you in their lives anyway. Why? Because in a funk the person tends to go silent and cold.  Poof! They are gone and you are out of their lives. (But do you want to be around someone else who is trying to control your level of living?  Hmmmm.)

Funks rarely if ever serve the greater good. Why? Because your light and your gifts cannot shine when you are living in a funk.

5. The fifth category of living is one that I call “Out on the Wing living.” Not a very safe place to be! What are the qualifiers?

  • It does not feel good
  • It is not good for you
  • It is not good for others
  • It does not contribute to the greater good
  • It does not honor God

Some examples of Out on the Wing living?

  • Rehearsing how others have hurt you in your mind again and again (nursing it)
  • Harsh words 
  • Being insensitive to those who love you
  • Withholding love

To make sure the levels are firmly in your mind, I’d like for you to complete an exercise. Either print this chart, or at least write the headings across a sheet of paper. Then consider your last 30 days and make an honest evaluation of the percentage of time that you spent at each level, with all levels totaling 100%. Be honest! This is so important because this exercise will help you see what you need to do to accelerate yourself to extraordinary living!

Please do not scroll down until you have completed the exercise. 

Have you completed it?

Come on! No shortcuts! I really want to help you with extraordinary living!

Sometimes taking an honest look at ourselves is amazingly useful.

OK… If you completed the exercise, read on. 

If not, the rest of the block will turn to invisible ink until you complete it! (Just kidding!)

At first glance, it might appear that everyone would be at their best if they spent all their time in First Class living. And of course First Class living is important, because it’s where we re-charge ourselves to go out and live our purpose and do good things.

And it probably seems obvious that time spent in Cargo living, Jump Seat living, or Out on the Wing living are definitely undesirable and things that we should try to avoid. The only possible outcome from those experiences is a downward spiral. (It’s like “Do not pass go, do not collect $100. Go to emotional hell. Go directly to emotional hell!” C’mon, didn’t you ever play Monopoly?)

But here’s the key to accelerating your journey to extraordinary living:

1. Spend 80% of your time in Coach / Economy living

            2. Spend 20% of your time in First Class living

WHAT?! Let me explain. First Class living serves one purpose, and that is to re-charge and prepare yourself to go out and do what your cause is, and to shine brightly. For most of us, that is in the center of our comfort zone. BUT I cannot emphasize the next statement enough:

YOU WILL NEVER FIND EXTRAORDINARY LIVING INSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. (And by the way, your purpose and your dreams are not in there either!)

I was doing this exercise in a group once and a very talented and gifted man said something that shocked me. He had had a great career, raised a great family, and was getting ready to retire. He said, “Since I am retiring, I’ve already fulfilled my purpose I guess. So I guess I just get to kick back and live First Class now.”

I distinctly remember glancing to the back of the room where some of my Executive and Master Life Coaches were sitting, and their wide eyes and dropped jaws reflected what I hoped my face was NOT expressing! He made some other statements following that.  In a debrief with my team later that evening, one of my Executive Life Coaches said, “That’s about the most self-centered thing I have ever heard, and I did not expect that from him.” I reiterated to them what I said to the man at that moment in the training:

“I do believe that your cause, your purpose, may change at this point in your life. But are you aware that research says that those who sit in their rocker on the front porch after they retire have significantly shorter lifespans, and usually become feeble and ill significantly ahead of their chronological age?”

The point is this: your purpose, your ability to grow and contribute, and your privilege of extraordinary living continues until you draw your last breath.

So why 80% of your time in Coach / Economy living? When First Class is much more comfortable? That is exactly the point. Because stretching outside of your comfort zone, which does not usually feel good at the moment, is what accelerates you into extraordinary things.

If you read my blog this past week (click here to read “My Personal Journey to Extraordinary”), you know that at age 20, I began my journey to seek out extraordinary; how to get it, and to crack the code, so I could share it with others. This was quite a difficult journey for me, because as the youngest child in my family, and the youngest grandchild, perhaps I was coddled. But I was definitely scared to death of life.

A baby step outside of my comfort zone, like when I began singing with the group based out of New York, brought dizziness, physical trembling, nausea, and sleepless nights. I thought it was a giant step. But looking back now, that baby step truly enhanced my life’s journey in a way that words cannot describe. I learned how to face stepping out of my comfort zone with courage.

And every step outside of my comfort zone felt like it was good for others, contributed to the greater good and honored God. Those steps propelled me to new levels of extraordinary living! The same wonderful result is possible and available to you!

Will the first step outside your comfort zone feel good? Of course not! But shut your eyes and breeze through it. Speak to yourself about courage; tolerate the stretch as long as you can before returning to First Class to gather yourself and re-charge. As you master the skill, your comfort zone will expand. And stepping out of it will become less and less frightening.

Over the years I have taught myself to look forward to those moments when I can step outside of my comfort zone.  I feel the butterflies (or, often, the huge eagles flapping around) in my tummy. Because I know what comes behind the challenging step. Extraordinary living at a whole new level.

People often ask me if there ever comes a time when there’s no place left that is outside your comfort zone? I don’t believe there is. Because I believe there are always higher highs and deeper foundations to aspire to.

These past two years have been a real leap outside my comfort zone and into Coach / Economy living. I have always wanted to make a difference on a larger scale. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with others on their journey.

This is why I am passionate about my work. I get to sit in my office with people every day and do this very thing. The lights that come on in their eyes! The inspirations they experience! Those experiences are all so priceless to me! But I’ve always wanted to share on a larger scale.

If you were on my latest Masterclass webinar (click here to watch the replay if you missed it!), you heard the story about how my dream to share on a greater scale led me to Amy Porterfield.  She is an expert in sharing compelling data through an online platform. Studying with her for two years, I learned new technologies, new platforms, and new ways of thinking about the people that I wanted to reach.

To say I was stretched thin like Gumby or Stretch Armstrong is an understatement! I spent many nights with little or no sleep. I was not born with an iPad in my crib, and there were moments when it was absolutely overwhelming! I eventually partnered with Cari Wise ( who helped me take it to the limit! (If you want help with entering the online market with a splash, look her up!)

Two years: outside of my comfort zone; dealing with “Doubting Thomases” along the way; with very little support or encouragement. What a daunting ride! You may think… Was it worth it?

I would do it all again, even if it cost twice the money and took twice the time. Why? Because of the results. Because of the emails that I receive after sharing important transformational content. Emails like this one from an amazing young man I had never met previously:

Dr. Neecie, I have no idea why the invitation to your master class today showed up on my Facebook page last week. But since it was free, I thought what the hell? I’ll sign up. I didn’t really intend to watch it because it aired during a time that I would normally be sleeping. But I thought I’d turn it on, and like most things, it would be background noise to put me to sleep. But I swear you were looking at me. I swear you were talking to me. When you said the words that no matter how much your seeds of greatness have had round up sprayed on them, they are still alive and well, I thought you somehow knew about me. At that moment something happened on the inside of me. I know this sounds crazy, but I felt something come alive. You mentioned something about you couldn’t believe how parents coaches and teachers all too often said to people that they would never amount to anything. I heard that my whole life. So I guess I just lived what they told me. Trouble with drugs, Failing out of school, DWI, you name it. I proved them right. I figured this email would never find you, and one of your people would answer it. So I did a web search and found these three other email addresses that seem personal. I hope this finds you. I’d like to stay in touch and attend some of your classes. I’m determined now to prove them wrong and to Somehow get to extraordinary. Thank you 

Yes, I’d do it all again. Living in extraordinary is the only way to fly! I hope you will join me on the flight to extraordinary! ALL ABOARD!