Success is doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way

As Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Those are powerful words. We are not all wired to lead change, to run a business, to run for president or to be an Olympic athlete. The reality is, there are limited spots at the top and we need to take a very close look at how we define “great” and the things we do every day to truly be extraordinary.

Love is a key component that so many of us leave out of the success equation. We focus on meeting milestones, deadlines, building up our achievements and accolades, getting that promotion or title. But how do we interact and form meaningful relationships along the way? How do we truly help others?

When we act with love, and we are humble and grateful for those around us, then we can find true success. There is an inseparable correlation between humility and gratitude. Those who have humility have an attitude of gratitude. Those who have gratitude tend to have a sense of humility. Those with little humility are generally not grateful.

In everyday life as we interact with others we meet, we tend to shove off niceties and focus on “getting it done,” whatever it is. But did you stop to say thank you to the person who made your coffee at the restaurant? Would it hurt to leave an extra dollar tip, a small thing to you, but a generous bonus for her? Did you say thank you to your colleague for staying late to finish a report? Did you thank your spouse for listening to you share your stressful day?

This attitude of gratitude is contagious, and it’s humbling. It helps us realize that the ordinary things are important, and if we can approach daily life and tend to the details, maximize the touchpoints we have with others, then we will feel more fulfilled and others will benefit even from our simple gestures. These are all ordinary things — ordinary interactions in our lives.

But when we carry them out in an extraordinary way, with gratitude, then we make a positive impact on those around us. Then, we are leading by example. Then, we build relationships that matter and cultivate a team that shares our vision — and we succeed.

Stop and consider your interactions in a single day. How could you make one person’s day better? I make a concerted effort to do those little things that I believe make an employee feel valued and appreciated, that make a guest feel doted on and welcomed. We can all do a better job of doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

How will you make someone’s day tomorrow through a simple act of love?

Umberto Fedeli is CEO at The Fedeli Group