On my desk at work, I have the following excerpt from an article written by Jeff Haden:
“The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland. Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, ‘Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?’ and leave, never to return. That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities. Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. […] Sure, it’s hard. But that’s what will make you different. And over time, that’s what will make you incredibly successful” (Source).
I live by this quote because I firmly believe the key to success is grit. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be recognized for my hard work and efforts. While at Full Sail University, I’ve earned “PROPS” nominations. From July 2012 to July 2013, over 1,200 nominations were received. I received nominations in the categories of Leadership and Community for my service to my university.
In addition, out of all of those nominations, I was 1 of 6 teachers awarded “Outstanding Educator of the Year 2013” at Full Sail University. I won in the Liberal Studies Division including the faculty in the English, Math, ESL, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Digital Literacy Departments. This was an absolutely huge honor and was the highlight of my teaching career at Full Sail University.
In addition to my teaching awards at Full Sail, I’ve also been recognized for my volunteer service by the Junior League of Greater Orlando. I won the Helping Hand Award in January 2013 and the Lifetime Leader Award in March 2012.
Dan Pink’s research on motivation and drive is fascinating to me. Pink says, “Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake […] The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world” (Source). I teach my students Pink’s philosophy. It is my job to teach them that the satisfaction is in the hard work itself, and as with every other life lesson, I lead my students by example in this area. Awards do make me feel good, but I feel better actually putting in the hard work. And award or no award, I will continue to go the extra mile.