“Listen to me little girl! You need to STRIKE OUT every day! You need to outperform, outshine, outclass all others!”
My head was spinning because nothing he said made sense. I was his second daughter, and he wanted two sons. So I was destined to become an athlete. Whether I liked it or not!
I had to run laps when I struck out! I got long lectures when I struck out! I got that look of severe disapproval when I struck out.
And now he was telling me to strike out every day. I didn’t know if it was a joke, or if I had misunderstood. But I stood still at attention and did not utter a word, or make one expression while I waited for whatever was coming next.
What came next was a slap on my shoulder that thrust me forward, and almost over, as he chuckled. He knew he had my attention and that was the point.
Although I’ve told plenty of stories about my early experience with my Dad (before he became a wonderful man when I was in my late 20s), this is a story of priceless value that he imparted into my life. One that I am so grateful for!
Striking out every day became a topic, or at least some lecture on all our fishing trips; part of our rides to and from games; and sometimes conversations while we worked on his boat together.
My dad came from a very large family, and was helping to support the family’s rent payments and food while he was still in his single digits. He didn’t have a bicycle, so he had to do his paper route on foot. I’ve heard many stories about what went through his mind on those mornings, long before the sun came up.
Apparently his dad, who was a train engineer, drank away his paycheck before he got home on Fridays. On those walks, delivering papers in the dark, he had many conversations with himself about becoming “something” or “somebody” in life. I don’t think he ever dreamed he would become a renowned steel tycoon, but I know that his determination within was well set before he turned double digits.
Over the next few years I heard countless stories about how he would outperform the other guys running routes by just flinging newpapers anywhere. He would make sure his papers were lying perfectly on the front doormat of the homes of the “rich people” he served.
He would outclass his competitors by learning what time people would likely open their front door to get their newspapers. And often he would appear and place it in their hands and wish them a great day.
He would outshine them by making certain their paper was placed in a place where it would not get wet (and that was long before there were plastic sleeves available). There were times when he could not protect their papers, so he would keep them inside his jacket until they opened the door. That would cause him to be late for school sometimes, however, he said his tardy passes meant absolutely nothing compared to earning the most amount of money possible from his beloved customers on his paper route.
He began early on teaching me how to outperform, outclass, and outshine others in all I did. But he would be careful to explain that I was not really competing with others, I would just become the very best version of ME! And the best version of me would take me places I never dreamed!
There is a story about a young Jewish man named Daniel who was taken into captivity in Babylon around 600 BC. Daniel was being groomed to serve as a politician. History records this statement about Daniel:
“ Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.”
I’m not too certain that my dad was a great history expert, but he pointed to this often. That first Daniel distinguished himself, and then he was to be set above the whole kingdom.
Over and over again, my father would speak to me about distinguishing myself. I wish I could tell you that I learned that lesson early on, and immediately began working to distinguish myself.
The truth is, I really had no idea what he was talking about, or exactly what it all meant. To this day, I wish I could’ve comprehended much earlier, and followed all that he taught me.
But I am grateful that it was planted deep within my heart, and that it’s something that once I understood it, I put it into practice. And it’s NEVER TOO LATE! You are never too old, you’ve never made too many mistakes, and you’ve never failed too many times!
I’m going way out on a limb with you this week, and I have my hand outstretched to you and I’m inviting you to come along!
I believe that there are times when there is a fine line between faith and foolishness. I have no desire to lead you into foolishness, but I have a great desire to help you distinguish yourself. To help you outperform, outshine, and outclass others. Not as a competitor with anyone else. Just out of your great desire to become all you were created to be. And to have all the influence you were meant to have. And to leave the legacy only you can leave!
The truth is, the way you wake up every morning determines how your day will be. The way you conduct yourself and the thoughts you think while getting ready for your day will set your compass. If you wake up looking for a great day, you will have one. However, if you wake up saying things to yourself, like I did for years, “I’m so tired!“ You are going to drag around life exhausted and energyless.
However you drive, or behave on the subway, on your way to work, determines the quality of your day. If you arrive at work late and in a rush, you will be late and rushed all day. If you arrive at work early, with a great attitude, and ready to shine, you will do just that.
We all tend to allow the television, the radio and other media to set the tone for our day. Or we sometimes allow the drivers that cut us off to set the tone. Or we allow the annoying people in the office to get on our nerves, and we are unnerved all day long.
How we use our time sets the tone for how productive we are. If we show up at work and play on social media for 30 minutes and we are grumpy until we have our coffee, we are violating principles of time integrity, and we are setting ourselves up for a rough day.
We blame people, we blame circumstances, we blame situations, when the truth is …. It’s all up to us. And if we want to be considered to be a leader in our own “kingdoms“ (whatever that means to you), we must STRIKE OUT with these three “OUT’s” every day. We must outperform, outshine, and outclass who we were yesterday.
You may be thinking, why on earth are you even talking about this stuff? Because this is the “stuff” that determines where you are headed. This is the “stuff” that determines your influence. This is the “stuff” World Changers are made of!
I may not know you personally, but I know people in my audience (who read what I write) are world changers. They are history makers. They are life transformers! And to be all of that, you simply must STRIKE OUT every day. This week I’d like to share five secrets to striking out daily:
1. Design your mornings for power and success.
You cannot just wake up and let the news, social media, and random thoughts set the tone for your day. I can assure you that none of those will set you up for a day where you will STRIKE OUT! (OUTperform, OUTshine, OUTclass who you were yesterday!)
Instead, when your alarm goes off, or when you open your eyes, have a power statement ready to say out loud. I have several that I choose from, and I decide the night before which one I need for the day.
- I can hardly wait to see how awesome this day is going to turn out.
- I am equipped and prepared to speak LIFE into dead places, and HOPE into barren places in people’s lives today.
- There couldn’t be a better day to love totally, to play full out or to relax and refill my tank!
Trust me, your first thoughts won’t naturally go there (unless you’ve done some serious brain re-training). Literally, set the tone for your day. Don’t let other people or other input set up your day. I promise you that they don’t know they kind of day you need to have, and even if they did, they would not likely speak words that would be more powerfully suited for success and a STRIKE OUT than words you will prepare.
But don’t stop with a power statement. Spend a few minutes in each of these areas:
- Moving your body
- Taking in something inspiring
- Speaking out goals, power words, proclamations (I have a whole course on this … message me if you are interested!)
You won’t be able to roll out of bed 15 minutes before you have to leave! Those who STRIKE OUT daily, and become great leaders and influencers (YES! … I’m talking to you!) allow plenty of time for this in the morning.
If necessary, get to bed earlier. I’m sure if you cut out some of your TV time, your social media time, and wasted time, you could get plenty of rest! Gift yourself with that! You can employ many lifestyle changes that will increase the quality of your sleep. Quality outranks quantity ANYTIME in the sleep arena!
There Is a whole field of research that indicates that we need much less sleep when we improve the quality of our sleep. And, by the way, too much sleep is just as exhausting to our body as is not enough sleep.
Do whatever it takes to create a power morning, and be determined to STRIKE OUT (OUTperform! OUTshine! OUTclass!)
2. Find a way before noon, then again before 5 PM, and then again before bedtime to go the extra mile. That’s three extra miles daily.
Those of us (that’s you reading this and me!) who are committed to STRIKING OUTrefuse to live by “bare minimum’s” or “just enough to get by!” We do not “cut corners” … we are a “cut above!”
People who go the extra mile, go over and above and exceed expectations, are the ones who have opportunities and open doors before them that others do not experience.
Entrepreneur Magazine stated: “Those who are willing to go the extra mile are the ones who exhibit a spirit of excellence, which leads to success in all aspects of business and life.”
Research conducted at Howard University to discover why some Urban Schools were successful producing outstanding students, (as compared to other Urban Schools who had lesser results) found this: “Findings indicate that, although the schools differed in size, organizational structure, and financial resources, they had one thing in common: all their stakeholders shared a common vision and went beyond ordinary expectations to ensure student success. Metaphorically speaking, they went the extra mile.”
Mary Kay Ash transformed the lives of (and empowered) hundred of thousands of women’s lives by teaching them to go the extra mile. She is known for saying : “Go the extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”
Find three opportunities to go the extra mile daily and you will see great favor and opportunities before you that others simply do not have!
3. Set expectations for what you truly desire and have passion for.
I hear clients say often: “I am so afraid to get my hopes up, I just can’t take another disappointment.” I know just what they mean. I did that for years. And guess what I got? Disappointment after disappointment.
Faith is about setting expectations for things you hope to see and experience. If we fail to do so, our brains will lead us to our greatest fear … more and more disappointment. If you’re going to set yourself up for disappointment by refusing to have great expectations, why not set them? You will get what you expect the majority of the time. And when you do have disappointments, you will learn to dust yourself off and set high expectations again.
Your brain will give you what you tell it to deliver. If you refuse to set high expectations (to avoid disappointment), all it hears is: “Find me some disappointment!”
When I was a little girl, my grandmother would sing me this silly little song, and I learned to sing it at the top of my lungs:
Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your gettin’ low
‘stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant
When troubles call, and your back’s to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall
Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he’d punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin’ that dam
’cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your feelin’ bad
‘stead of feelin’ sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam
All problems just a toy balloon
They’ll be bursted soon
They’re just bound to go pop
Oops there goes another problem kerplop
Set some high hopes for those things you truly desire and have passion about! Right now I have a great passion for a Ranch where youth and adults can find respite and restoration from trauma, depressions, anxiety.
We’ve located a fabulous property. We need a little less than $3 million to secure it. I am believing and expecting we can raise $3.5 million through donations from people who believe in the mission. I have HIGH HOPES!
What do you need to set high hopes on? Take a moment and decide right now. Because World Changers who OUTperform, OUTshine and OUTclass have HIGH HOPES!
4. Commit to excellence in all you do.
Now I’m stepping on toes. I know! I have to step on my own often!
You (nor I) can distinguish ourselves by doing only as much as we have to. NO! You (and I) know better than that! We can be excellent in all we do.
What do I mean by this? Let me help you get started. I had to give myself a huge lesson in this when I began to understand it:
- What do you look like daily when you leave home?
- Do you look half put together? Or did you prepare yourself for excellence?
I’m not talking about doing yard work in a tie. (Didn’t Beaver’s Dad mow the lawn in a starched shirt and slacks on “Leave it to Beaver?”) But you can outshine with your hair combed, and clean clothes on!
And a word to you husbands/boyfriends and wives/girlfriends.
- Do you dress better for the office than you do for your sweetheart?
- Are you wearing sweats? Or old stained t’shirts?
Your relationship will be about as excellent as you present yourself for it!
- How is your hygiene?
- Are you showered daily?
- Is your hair clean? And brushed/combed?
This is a very simple way to OUTclass!
- What does your car look like? Has it been washed/vacuumed recently?
- What is your attitude like when you are faced with a challenge (like taking out heavy garbage, untangling Christmas lights (LOL … a true test of character?)
This is a true look at whether or not you will OUTshine!
- When someone asks that you do something for them, do you do it with excellence?
- When you are cleaning, do you do it with excellence, or only wipe up the spills you can see?
- Do you just give donations if someone is watching, or are you a generous giver?
- At work, do you conduct yourself with excellence?
- What about your health? Your lifestyle? Do you live with excellence?
It is worth OUTperforming to stay in great health!
The point is, there is no room for “barely getting by” when it comes to how we conduct ourselves if we truly desire to distinguish ourselves. In our relationships. In our finances. In our businesses/careers. In our health. In our influence.
5. Find a way to serve someone less fortunate than you every single day.
I love serving. For so many reasons. But one of the greatest being that it is so fulfilling!
Research clearly indicates that serving others reduces depression, calms anxiety, and creates greater quality of sleep. It also promotes gratitude, which is one of the most powerful “natural healers” known to man.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or resources to serve others. I have a neighbor down the street who was having some health challenges. It only took me two minutes to take their trash can back up the steep drive after I took mine up each week. They likely don’t know who did it. All the better!
The ice cream truck still comes around our neighborhood. I know that after leaving our area, she drives South to some challenging areas. It only takes a moment to grab a $5 bill and ask her to find a child standing and wishing and give them a popsicle.
Helping a mom struggling with a toddler place her groceries in the back of her van, and return her shopping cart while she straps the toddler in only takes a moment.
Serving is something we all can do!
These are just five ways you can begin your journey of OUTperforming, OUTshining, and OUTclassing yourself daily. There are many more. Just get started!
I promise you these five things will set you in motion to striking out every single day. When you string a bunch of days together where you are striking out, you will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, find that you are a cut above. And when you are a cut above you can see things others cannot see. You can accomplish things others cannot accomplish. You can create things others have failed to create. You can change the world.