The Extra Miler

go_the_extra_smile-700x350Not too long ago, a friend of mine was working as an extra on a movie set. One day of filming required him to sit next to one of the movie’s stars in close quarters. The star is a tall fellow, and so sitting in the cramped quarters was difficult for him. So every time the crew got ready to turn the shot around or move to a new one, the star would stand up.

And my friend would stand up with him, move to the side, and allow the star to pass.

When I asked him why, the answer was simple: “Because standing up made it easier for the star to get out and stretch his legs.”

Now my friend could’ve just turned in his seat, or leaned back in his chair, or done any number of things to allow the star to pass. Instead, he chose to show respect for his fellow man by going out of his way to make things easier. He chose to go the extra mile.

That phrase – going the extra mile – is a customer service staple, but it actually comes from the Bible. In fact, it was Jesus who taught us to go the extra mile. During the days of Jesus, Romans could demand that a local serve as a guide or porter for one mile. That meant they could be forced to carry any load at any time for a mile. It was considered degrading by the locals.extra-1

But Jesus said to his followers, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) The reason being, it’s a way to show love; much like its sister verse about turning the other cheek. Jesus is teaching us to kill people with kindness and love – his second greatest commandment.

If you think about it, we’re attracted to people like this. Chick-fil-A has become popular because of its “Extra Mile Service”, and companies that go out of their way to serve customers are raved about online.

As a business owner, I look for the extra miler – the people that stand out to me are the ones who go the extra mile to impress me. And I typically rehire the great people that exceeded my expectations. That’s because I am an extra miler – my leaders and clients may only need me to go one mile, but the extra mile is what attracts people again and again.

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” – Jesus

And it doesn’t just apply to business; it applies to your spouse, your kids, and the folks you see in the street. People know you care when you walk with them two miles instead of just one.

My friend, the movie extra, found that his simple act of standing made the star willing to talk during breaks, and he got some excellent conversation and wisdom out of the deal. That’s not normally the case on many sets – but my friend’s extra mile effort changed the dynamic.

Going above and beyond is little more than being willing to consider others ahead of yourself. It’s good business – and it’s just the right thing to do to make a difference.


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