How to be Truly Extra-Ordinary

I’ve been reading a lot lately, books about thought leadership and branding, marketing, finding your purpose, passion etc.

Every one of them says – stand out, be different, find your USP, be a purple cow, good is the enemy of great, be extraordinary, be the first or be the best..

Everywhere I look around, passionate people are standing on soapboxes & talking about – you guessed it – being different, being unique, being extra-ordinary.

I’m one of them.

Normal is boring.

Ordinary is Obscurity.

You’re no one unless you’re SOME one.

You’ve got to stand out and be who you are, cos everyone else is taken.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting quite tired of this hoopla.

With all this pressure to stand out and be special.

I’m tired of trying to figure out my genius zone, what makes me special, different, unique so I can apply that to life, business, relationships. Tired of this “extra” “better” “more” mindset.

Screw that.

You want to be extra-ordinary?

Then get off the bandwagon & stop trying to be extra-ordinary.

That my friend, will take you leaps and bounds ahead of the masses (self included), all scrambling to find their Unique Special Thing without which they’re so obviously doomed to live an ordinary (and apparently, unsuccessful), life.

Does this make you uncomfortable?

Good!

Me too. It’s not the easiest thing to say -

“I am ordinary. I am no different from you or you, or you. I am the same as you, I want pretty much the same things (love, happiness, money, health) even though the form these take may be different”

You don’t need to stand out. You don’t need to be special.

All you need, is the courage to be that which you already ARE.

To me, THAT’s extra-ordinary.

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that we each have amazing talents and skills. But in this search for excellence, we’re reduced to standing out.

Yes, REDUCED to standing out.

When did being extra-ordinary become such a huge thing? And when I look at what people mean by extra-ordinary, it’s things like:

  • play more
  • work less
  • travel
  • have adventures
  • find your passion
  • do what you love
  • make a difference in the world
  • inspire people
  • live an inspired life
  • life life on my own terms

Wow. How much of this reads like just living a joyful life, in alignment with your basic desires?

Our world is so freakin’ skewed – this life is called “extra-ordinary”?

Why isn’t this the NORM? Why isn’t this called a GOOD life, a normal life?

What if.

  • What if, instead of wanting to be the best, you want to be happy.
  • What if, instead of trying to find what makes you so different, you embrace what makes you the same.
  • What if, instead of standing out, you do what you love.
  • What if, you connect with your soul and only do what makes it sing.

This was brought home to me in a big way recently when I was agonising about wanting to be different, stand out and find ‘my thing’, my USP that would make me memorable and unique amongst thousands of coaches & online entrepreneurs.

I *think* I know what I want – I want to be a BRAND, I want to INSPIRE people, I want to be SUCCESSFUL.

But really, what I really truly want, more than all this, is to have way more happy than sad moments, explore the world, experience different stages of life, be of service, give back & have tons of fun.

So I wondered “how can I be of highest service”?

And I was told – you are of highest service when you are following your joy.

That simple. THAT ordinary. If joy =  love, compassion, fun, connection, then that’s my mecca.

I don’t want to be extraordinary or special. I just want to BE.

Happy.

Alive.

Experiencing.

Loving.

Loved.

Accepted.

Maybe what’s needed is for each one of us to find the courage within to be ordinary. So we can REDEFINE what that means.

It means – you are special, and so is everyone else.

It means – you don’t go looking for what makes you DIFFERENT, you find what lights you up & makes you, you.

It means – Living life YOUR way.

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  1. says

    So on the same page TIA! Thanks for publicly calling out the “hoopla” and getting us all back to BEING. I want that life you’re describing, for myself and my clients and it’s just not useful to keep thinking of it externally. My take on it is this: ordinary people doing ordinary things!

  2. says

    Thank Sandi – ORdinary people doing ordinary things :) I LIKE that. Seeing as we’re all beings of peace, love and vibration, the ordinary is what makes us special.

    Maybe I’m on a spiritual tangent today – just finished reading “Drive” by Daniel Pink after I wrote this post (yeah I read the entire book in one sitting!) and was so moved by it. It’s about what really motivates us and talks about intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators. Wow. Just wow. I want that life too Sandi. And I mean to have it. My life, my way.

  3. says

    And here I’ve been, with Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” in one ear, and Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness” in the other, and wondering why I can’t decide which way to go, which attitude to put on. They’re diametric opposites! Just the other day, I made an AudioBoo of a reaction I’d had of a book I’m not sure I want to read: “A Million Miles in a Thousand Days”. In it, the author sets out to rewrite his life so that, if someone read it like a story, it’d be thrill-packed, one that the reader can’t put down. My reaction was, must I? Who are these people I have to be entertaining with my life? I’d sooner be happy. And now that I figured out how to cobble together happiness in the worst of circumstances, I can now take my time deciding what I want to do (budget allowing, of course).

  4. says

    I love Seth Godin & his books. I have Linchpin, it’s waiting to be read but I’ve read most of his other books. And yet, I’m torn. Between wanting to be that person & wanting to be whoever is unfolding.

    Inherently, I’m both. WE are both. Could it be that instead of focusing on that difference, we do what we do with full passion and playfulness and in doing so, incidentally step into our genius, our linchpin-ness, our selves?

    I think yes.

    Would love to hear that audioboo, could you leave us a link please? Never heard of the book but maybe that’s him (the author) following HIS joy? We’re all best when we’re doing what we want to do hey, what makes one man happy makes another freak out.

    So – do YOU think you could be a linchpin by doing whatever it is that makes you happy (instead of some great big thing to change the world)? What challenges would that pose?

    Walking the line, embracing an imbalanced life like Leslie talked about in her awesome guest post IMO, that in itself would be the biggest gift you could give yourself and anyone. What say?

    Thanks for the great comment Rick, food for thought indeed!

    ps: love your avatar pic!

  5. says

    Ditto: Reading linchpin too and getting the messages you are getting and I know this allows me to hold myself back while i come to terms with all of this.

    I also have Traveling at The Speed of love and Trust Your Vibes also on the shelf and this allows me to find my joy-

    Thanks for speaking out and making being ordinary oky- that is a tough one- I have always like to be different
    Hugs
    Suzie
    http://suziecheel.com

  6. says

    We’re all highly smart, intelligent people who get that life is about loving, living and purpose. Of COURSE we’re all a Linchpin crew, Suzie! LOL!

    I will read it soon, but what I want to know going in (as evidenced by this post), is that living a life that I love, whether it makes a difference in one life or 1000, if I’m really truly living a meaningful life, that is enough.

    Good enough, better than anything I could ever have dreamed or imagined.

    No one in their right mind can say that’s NOT good enough and have me believe it. Purpose is very personal & by having the courage to live it, you’re a linchpin in anyone’s eyes.

    I’m just done with the emphasis on “influence” and “being a change agent”. How about just living life your way, living on purpose instead? Letting our actions speak louder than our words?

    THAT is more inspirational, life changing and “influential” than the quest to be extraordinary.

    Btw, I’m talking about making the extraordinary ordinary and changing the definition of ordinary. And of course we can be different – in fact we ARE each very different, that’s got nothing to do with being extraordinary though – being different means giving a voice to our indivduality, our thoughts, feelings and choices.

    It’s not about ‘branding yourself so that people can admire you & be inspired by you’ it’s about being you, and by doing so, inspiring people to get in touch with THEIR inner motivations, their desires and dreams – be they big or small, be they to live a life of solitude in the woods or in the playboy mansion.

    Ok … am I getting wrapped up in semantics here? On the one hand I believe we all have a purpose and to find and live that is our only job in life. And on the other, I’m saying that purpose can be as simple as ‘be happy’ and as spiritual as ‘eradicate hunger’.

    Although, being happy is just as spiritual to me … Over to you before I totally go off on a tangent, LOL!

  7. says

    Wow — Tia this is really mind-shifting! I don’t have to be on Oprah, sailing around the world, or creating some huge movement in the world to be extra-ordinary. How freeing!! Thank you :)

  8. says

    Terri, you know what else is mind shifting? Realising that you can make all your own rules as to how you want to show up in this world! Holy cr** – the power of choice has got to be one of the biggest in the free world. And the right to change everything you say, think and do if you want to – not that I’m changing anything I said, hah!

    I’ve just finished reading Drive by Daniel Pink and am totally reeling from hearing that in the year 2024 the % of US population over 60 will be greater than that under 5 (or something like that). And baby boomers + Gen Yers alike are in a rush to find their purpose in life, to live lives of passion & contribution & make everything count, either meaningful of fun, but hopefully BOTH.

    So yeah, like Oprah and Toms Shoes – “not just for profit” entities, instead drive by purpose and profit. REDEFINING extraordinary – one day, this will be ordinary and ordinary will be a sweet, angelic, divine word.

    Now I am TRULY on a tangent and it’s so exciting!! :) Thanks for stopping by x

  9. says

    To quote my wife “Dare to be Mediocre”. Essentially she always has to be ‘perfect’ and do everything ‘amazing’ so she’s second guessing and re-starting way too much.

    She’s decided to ‘Dare to be Mediocre” instead of usually “Dare to be Great” or “Dare to be Different”.

    I’ve started implementing that with some things I’m working on, and it at least helps me get it ‘shipped’.

    For me, I believe it’s not worth starting something unless I’m going to do it the best that I can. But I’m doing that for me and me alone. I want to be great, I want to make great things. Because for me, looking back at my 10 years of Design work and not having much i’m proud of doesn’t feel that great.

  10. says

    Shawnnnnn! Great to see you here mate! I like how your wife’s thinking & I just bet though – what she calls “mediocre” is probably pretty damn good. Oh and mediocre by WHOSE standards? One man’s mediocre is another man’s perfect.

    We’re our own worst critics.

    I’m going to disagree with you on “it’s not worth starting something unless I’m going to do it the best I can”. Actually, I agree with the “best I can” part of it, just not with the “not worth starting”.

    Why? Cos some things we do, we do for the reward of just doing. Learning, growing, experiencing.

    Not everything we do has to be perfect or even finished. There’s this concept of rewards & durations that I read about in Barbara Sher’s book “Refuse to Choose”, which says that for some activities our rewards can be as simple as satisfying curiosity, whereas for others we aim for mastery.

    Not all work is created equal.

    When it comes to your work, do you look at some of your earlier stuff and feel proud of the progress that came with each project? Or see that what you’re doing today is a result of doing just okay work back in the day & learning from that?

    Hell yeah, I’m all for being proud of our work and taking pleasure in creating something amazing. Absolutely! That’s creativity and passion in motion. There’s satisfaction, joy, exhileration in doing great work. We must all aim towards that, the ultimate form and expression of our talent.

    Just, let’s not make our happiness dependent on it while we’re out pouring our hearts and souls into doing the best we can :)

    ps: Your last blog post title has me intrigued! Off to read it now.

  11. says

    That’s a good point Tia – that of my past work taking me to where I am now. And likely, at the time – it was the best that I could do. So it’s entirely possible that what I create now I may not be proud of in 10 years either.

    For me, right now – I want that drive to create great work. It feels really good. My happiness doesn’t depend on the work itself being great however – but it DOES depend on my enjoying the process of doing the ‘great’ work.

    I’ve been working on a video that’s taken me WAY longer than it likely should have (and WAY longer than it probably will appear to have taken). Because i’ve been such a harsh critic of myself and been disappointed that I cannot recreate what is in my brain – I have started to lose passion for the project.

    So is it possible, that part of how you’re describing to be EXTRA-ordinary is to allow yourself to create, to be, and to live a life that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the process. When we strive for constant greatness (and likely because we are our own worst critics we never achieve it) we just disappoint ourselves because of it, which ends up leaving us drained and depressed.

    Because if that’s the case – I think you’re right! For myself anyway, it’s something I need to remind my brain of. So thank you. :)

    (That title was NOT search engine optimized in the LEAST. And the post itself was me literally practicing what you’re talking about above.)

  12. says

    Hahahahaha Ohhhhh! LMAO!! “That title was not search engine optimised …” It took me a few seconds to realise what you were saying! At first I thought it was a response to my comment on your social media consultant post & then got it. Hahahah.

    “I want that drive to create great work. It feels really good. My happiness doesn’t depend on the work itself being great however – but it DOES depend on my enjoying the process of doing the ‘great’ work.”

    Love, love, love that you say this. Yes this is what I’m blathering on about! The drive to do something cos it FEELS GOOD! And happiness = enjoying the creative process of doing great work.

    And the best part? When THAt happens, the work you do IS great. Cos you’re in FLOW, that magical, glorious place of eyes on the work, being your work. When the focus is on communing with what you’re doing, you’re being extraordinary 1000 times more than when you’re (or anyone) focusing on finding what makes you great.

    Just read this on Steve Pavlina’s blog – when inspiration strikes, ACT immediately, whether it’s product creation or a new business idea (he got it from Joe Vitale). The longer you wait, the faster you lose passion.

    First create, then tweak.

    “”allow yourself to create, to be, and to live a life that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the process. When we strive for constant greatness (and likely because we are our own worst critics we never achieve it) we just disappoint ourselves because of it”‘ —–> Dude you just said that WAY better than I have in the last few comments.

    THANK you for clearly articulating what was in my head and dying to be spoken! Ahhhh yes, yes, yes :D That’s exactly it!! Big hugs!

  13. says

    Hey there Tia!
    Being More Yourself underlies the idea of being a linchpin, giving the gift of ourselves in what we do. There really isn’t a need to find our USP. It goes without saying, we are unique by design. We all have a spot carved out just for us. No one else can fill it. We don’t need to compete for it or shout loudly hoping to obtain everyone else’s approval to take up our place. It already has our name on it, just as there is a marker holding the spot for Seth and Suzi, Rick, Sandi, Anna-Marie, Bob, you, me….. It’s a crazy waste of time and energy to push and shove and wave our flags, competing to get noticed. There is no one to compete with, to be our self.

    What we miss when we ride like sheeple on bandwagons, is the simple truth that by virtue of our existence, we are each a significant and necessary piece of the greater puzzle of humanity. We are the manifestation of love itself which means we are lovely, lovable, loving and loved already, right here, right now. Our only task is to live it. And because we are so intricately connected, we can’t help but make a difference. We can’t help but add value, providing we aren’t wasting our time here trying to fit in, or stand out, both of which stem from fear of not being enough, not mattering. Instead, we need to find our fit, which is simply a matter of loving our self, as is, where is. When we choose love, not fear, we can’t get it wrong. When we are living a life that fits, fear hasn’t a place, our ego quiets, our heart expands and we naturally want the same for others, which is exactly what a linchpin does. From this place, their place, the gifts they share have immeasurable value. From this place, connection, collaboration and creation are natural – no conquering, nor competing required.

  14. says

    Gail, thank you for this beautiful, articulate piece! I think I just fell in love with you.

    You’ve just added a whole dimension to the scope of this discussion. I didn’t talk much about that part cos then the post wld have stretched into Alaska but thank you, thank you, thank you for shining the spotlight.

    “”there really isn’t a need to find our USP. It goes without saying, we are unique by design. We all have a spot carved out just for us. No one else can fill it. We don’t need to compete for it or shout loudly hoping to obtain everyone else’s approval to take up our place”" ——> YES!

    And here’s the challenge – with everyone around saying ‘be different be different’ people forget that they already ARE different! And if we just paid more attention to what we love, what fires our imagination and makes us jump for joy, we’d find “it”, that “it” we think we need but really, it’s not something external rather an instrinsic piece of us.

    I’m just not sure the emphasis should be on being different, makes it more fulfilling for the focus to be on connecting with your inner self, finding your north star and joyously embarking on that journey. Maybe we’re saying the same thing here!

    LOVE the bio on your website btw!! Glad to meet you :)

  15. says

    I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

    I am no better or worse than any one else.

    I am one of many travellers here in this physical manifestation for a while.

    I am me.

    How much money I make, how many friends on farcebook I have, how many tweet followers, how many clients, how many wives I have had (2 at last count), how many donuts I have eaten, how many countries I visited, how many people I have impacted, how many cars I have driven…… These things (and many others) are irrelevant.

    All I need do is be the best me for today. Enjoy the day. Make a positive contribution for the day. Whether it is ordinary, extraordinary or boring as batshit, as long as I am me.

    Thanks Tiara Sparkles!

  16. says

    Thanks Parul, always a good day when you drop by :)

    Merry: “how many wives I have had (2 at last count)” – people might wonder how you pulled that off since you so smartly left out that they aren’t at the same time, lol.

    ps: “how many donuts I have eaten” – I disagree! The more donuts you’ve eaten, the better you are as a person :P

    pps: boring as batshit = you don’t deserve donuts! no day should ever be boring – streak, strip, jump into a lake, do whatever it takes .. aww just teasing ;)

  17. Lynne says

    Yes!! We are one in spirit! Our journey is finding our genuine self.
    Seems elusive at times.

    I want to be around people who are being their genuine self because they are grounded, content with themselves and others, even in times of stress. And well… being their true extraordinary self!

    I feel it when i am not being my genuine self and think Huh? why am i doing that?

    If someone else is being disingenuous it is so obvious. Why is it so difficult to see it and allow it in ourselves sometimes. well, i will speak for myself. :-)
    I guess what’s why connecting is so important. The mirroring, reacting, the not reacting and awareness that magically happens as we co-actively live in this wonderful universe.

    THANK YOU Tia,
    for How to be Truly Extra-Ordinary
    thank you Tia

  18. says

    Lynne!? Lynne from Vancouver or elsewhere? If it’s you sweetie, big mwahs!

    I don’t know about grounded but definitely burning with a passion inducing cough which won’t let go till the truth has been bespoketh ;)

    Ha!

    I reckon it’s hard cos at the core we want to be liked and accepted. And saying what we REALLY feel and are thinking can lead to criticism, rejection and pain. It takes courage (and a few tequila shots sometimes) to speak up!

    Love where you’re pointing us – towards connecting, mirroring and awareness. Hey we’re all doing the best we can so keep on keeping on. Thanks for the connection piece my friend x

  19. Tiffany says

    I’m late…but I thought it’d be funny to add in a personal story about being different. This summer I went to a 3-week art program. I had a beautifully magnificent time, and it was fully of everyone TRYING to be different. All of them were TRYING to be different by hating my art teacher. I did what made me happy and became on great terms with him. They all went TRYING to be different by wearing clothes from certain stores and looking kinda dirty. I showered and wore what I’ve always worn and got tons of compliments.

    They tried to be EXTRAORDINARY by trying ridiculously hard to be a tormented artist. I chilled out, got happy, and just went with it. At the big show at the end, everyone was quite wowed by my work…

    :)

  20. says

    Goosebumps at what you said there Tiffany “They tried to be EXTRAORDINARY by trying ridiculously hard to be a tormented artist. I chilled out, got happy, and just went with it”

    Way to go being YOU and being seen for it.

    If there ever was a case for being true to who you are, this would be it. Thanks for sharing, it’s so great to see you here again. Missed ya!

  21. says

    Hi Tia – fellow Vancouverite and Kiwi!
    I’m late too -but love this article. It takes the pressure off – we’re all running around looking for how to be different and extraordinary and it’s right there inside us all the time. Reminds me of that story about the wise ones sitting around discussing where to hide the secret of life – under the deepest ocean, on top of the highest mountain, on the moon etc – no – hide it within each person – they’ll never think to look there! The jokes on me too!

    Wow – now I can just have fun, live my passions, breathe, relax! Wow, imagine if we all did that!

    And meanwhile we just need to expand our capacity to feel good – somehow it doesn’t quite seem right! :-)

  22. says

    Hi Vicky! Hey, have we met in person yet? Would love to connect with another local coach. Love that story – that is so darn true. I’ve taken to meditating daily after many start n stop attempts over the years. Truly, the answers we seek are all within us.

    What doesn’t feel right about expanding our capacity to feel good? Or did you mean that it’s so simple and yet we don’t do it :)? I read The Big Leap recently and something Hendricks said about making a commitment to increasing the time we spend feeling good everyday really stuck a chord.

    Instead of trying to summit the mountain of happiness in one go, all we need is to spend a little more time in the happy zone each day. Wow!

    Thanks for popping by, pleasure to meet you!

    ps: For the lazy ones amongst us, The Answer is 42!

  23. says

    Hi Tia,
    I agree with your post completely. In this striving that we find ourselves in, we often times miss out on the small joys of life. We’re so anxious to “make it” that we end up losing our on truly enjoying the journey and appreciating the small things. My name (Eren) comes from the original Irenes which means peace. In order to achieve true peace we must be happy in the process of achieving our goals not just when we “get there”. Great post!
    All the best,
    Eren

    • says

      Hey Eren, woops, somehow missed seeing this post. True Story – it’s the simplest and also the most challenging :) Funny how that works ay. No matter how many times I remind myself, every few months I find myself asking “how did I get here yet again!” and then find the wherewithal to move on. A daily work in progress! Appreciate your comment, thanks!

  24. says

    Ohhhhhhh. YES! You nailed it, Tia. My coach, Cheryl Bourget (@organicwellness) tweeted the link to this, and I know she always finds the good stuff.

    I just went to an event called “Creating Irresistible Presence”… and at the end, when it was my one chance to speak, instead of giving a power talk, what came out was a little meditation. And at the end, these words: “You don’t have to create irresistible presence. You just have to allow it.” (Not my words. Just using my mouth.) I believe this is what you called the joy of living. Being. Not striving.

    I’m with ya. All the way!

  25. says

    Goose.Bumps. You just made my heart expand! Thank you Cheryl for tweeting and Kat for reading and commenting. This is going into my vocab now “don’t CREATE irrestible presence, allow it”. Please come back again, I want to hear more of the way you think!

  26. says

    This post really hits for me. Because yes, that list of what people consider extraordinary is exactly how I want to live my life, and yes, that should be normal! That should be what we aspire to, and what I do. Thanks for writing this, I feel like I really needed it!!

  27. zanetka says

    HeY Tia !!! This is one of the best article, which I read from you :) yeah, it makes sense, even it’s not important what you are doing, it is how you are doing that!! And the best way is doing every single thing, with joy, being alive, being sparklicious !! I completely agree with you :) being extraordinary is being yourself, being you- but always for that you have to learn to listen to your inner voice, to know who are you first, I think it is the hard work, and the other part is courage to be YOU. You can just know what do you want or what you dream of, or what says your heart, but you still can be so afraid to be like that. How to be carageous?

    • says

      Thing is, you can be afraid and still do what you dream of doing – by asking yourself, in a year or 5 years will this matter to me? Will I regret not doing this? Don’t let fear stop you, woman!! I recently did something that I had been avoiding for TWO years by asking myself that question. Thanks for reading and letting me know you liked the article :) xo, Tia.

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