By Mark Sanborn
We spent Thanksgiving at Clevelands House and got a long weekend worth of the Encore Effect.
The end of season pilgrimage to cottage country is a family tradition.
This year may have been the best yet thanks to some remarkable staff.
Lucy, our Aussie server, was always cheerful, never obtrusive and had our kids' names memorized after our first meal.
Gus bent the rules, reopened the resort's boat house Monday afternoon and made sure our family had our first ever canoe trip.
Vera gladly accepted my son's offer to help make the beds while learning all about his school, his friends and teachers, the family cat and his plans to wear his big sister's princess dress on Halloween.
Jenna and the camp counsellors won the affection of my son and held the attention of a posse of smitten boys.
And there was the front desk staffer who slipped us her lighter so we could have a Monday night bonfire on the shore of Lake Rosseau and discover just how fast warm blankets and the snap and crackle of burning firewood can put kids to sleep.
Without fail and for the whole weekend, everyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome in the heart of the Muskokas.
So what about your organization? And how about you? When was the last time you did something remarkable?
We're always performing, whether at work, at home or out in the community.
"All of us are called on to be 'on' all the time — to give our best performance as individuals, spouses, parents, employees or bosses," says author and business speaker Mark Sanborn.
"Whatever stage we find ourselves on, most of us are called on to perform every day. We need to be remarkable, regardless of how we feel." Every day is game day. Every moment is an opportunity to shine.
A remarkable performance moves us to act. Or makes us feel good. Causes us to laugh. Or stimulates us to think. Score on one or more of these counts and you can change lives.
"When people constantly demand more and more of whatever it is you do, this is what I describe as the Encore Effect," says Sanborn. "I believe that a worthy goal in life is to have people shouting for more of whatever it is we do that is really important and matters to us. The world is desperately looking for people who make such a difference, who produce memorable results, who have a positive impact on others."
We have a choice. Be remarkable or be routine. Stand out or settle for being the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Get the job done or get the job done in a show-stopping remarkable way that leaves the impression there's a whole lot more yet to come.
The choice is obvious. "The problem is that average performance doesn't get you noticed. In the work world it doesn't lead to promotions or raises, and it doesn't create strong relationships and bonds. You want to be among the best of the best."
Your encore performance tells the world all about your level of commitment, your professionalism, your skills, values and character.
"Encore performers demonstrate that they know how to do what they do, that they've practised and perfected what they do, and that they still have a commitment to becoming better."
If you're looking to be remarkable, Sanborn has come up with a Performance Development Agenda where passion plus discipline plus action equals remarkable performance.
"I'm not suggesting that the PDA formula is going to change your life, at least overnight. But I do think it can become a useful mental road map that you can use to evaluate your choices and determine the actions and directions you're going to take."
To find your passion, ask yourself what you would love to spend the rest of your life doing? Passion invigorates, inspires, sustains, comforts, initiates, completes and enhances. Passionate people know for whom they're performing, they know how to perform remarkably, they know why they perform and they know what their performance needs to look like. "A result that is off by an inch today will be off by a mile in the future."
While passion is the fuel that drives performance, you also need the consistent and persistent effort that comes from discipline.
"Passionate people who lack discipline will end up in life exactly where they began." Practice won't make you perfect but it will make you better than the rest.
The key is deliberate practice. Hitting a bucket of golf balls isn't deliberate practice. Using your eight-iron 300 times with the goal of leaving the ball within 10 metres of the pin 80 per cent of the time and adjusting after every swing? That's deliberate practice.
Action is where the rubber hits the road. Just don't confuse activity with action. Focus on what you want to achieve and say no to any activity that diverts your efforts. "The difference between a mediocre performance and a remarkable one is usually the difference between what you know and what you do with what you know."
Combine all three elements and you get show-stopping remarkable performance. "The ultimate benefit — indeed, the ultimate purpose – of a remarkable performance is to become a remarkable person — and vice versa."
One last piece of advice from Sanborn courtesy of guitar legend Robert Fripp. Arrange for a few pointed sticks in your day to build your confidence and make you an even more remarkable performer. Early on, Fripp has his students perform in public venues where anything and everything can and invariably does go wrong. Bad acoustics. Lousy audiences. Hecklers and crying babies.
"By finding ways to surmount the difficulties of performing in a place where things are certain to go wrong, students build their confidence. Life is not fair. There are a great many variables in life that are beyond our control. We need to find ways to achieve a memorable performance in spite of them."
So it's best to build your confidence daily with a few pointed sticks before it's ever time to take centre stage and turn in the performance of your life.
(This review was published in the Oct. 18 edition of the Hamilton Spectator)