New Year’s Resolution 2010 = The Extra Mile

I gave my niece and her husband food gifts for Christmas. Being perishable, I couldn’t wrap them up and put them under the tree, so I made special things to represent the actual gifts and wrapped those. My niece asked me if the companies I purchased from had provided the things I had wrapped, and I told her, “No. I made them.”  Her response was, “You always go the extra mile.”

Then I proceeded to serve my guests purchased desserts.

That statement, and the knowledge that I don’t always go the extra mile (or I would have been Betty Crocker-ing in my kitchen to make those desserts), made me stop and wonder if it’s always appropriate and/or desirable to give 110%.  Are there times when less than your absolute best is truly good enough?

I hope some of you will tell me your thoughts on this, because I’d really like to know. In the meantime, though, I have discovered something about myself: I don’t always go the extra mile when it is too uncomfortable or inconvenient.  Some of those uncomfortable or inconvenient things include diet, exercise, networking, baking, phone calling, and ironing.

While some of those things are pretty harmless and don’t hurt anyone  – honestly, I am the only one who suffers if my ironing is less than perfect – I am troubled by the very idea that I don’t always do my best or try my hardest.  Often? Yes.  Always? No.

So that is my one phrase resolution for 2010 (a concept I stole borrowed from my friend April Dowling at PseudoHR): GO THE EXTRA MILE.  Always.  Even when it hurts or is uncomfortable.  Especially when it hurts or is uncomfortable.  It can only lead to a better 2010, my friends.  Happy New Year!

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6 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolution 2010 = The Extra Mile”

  1. Ugh, I’m glad I didnt choose your New Year Theme. That would involve public speaking for me and I’m so not doing that.

    You’ve given yourself a lofty goal Ms. Ginsberg :) I have no doubt that you’ll give it the effort it deserve and end 2010 with many a story to tell and many new experiences that are no longer uncomfortable.

  2. Joan, I thoroughly enjoy reading, everything that you write! Even this,,,going the extra mile…I do know from experience ( class reunion), that you are definetly a person to go the extra mile, showing your creative abilities to make the finished product/meal/etc…totally showcase. I can relate all to well to your need to go the extra mile, as I always will for any family/friend party,dinner, picnic,,,,etc. Part of my loves to give, part of me loves perfection, and then there is alittle part of me that just expects to much of myself! Happy New Year !

  3. Hi Joan, In general, it is hard to disagree with the concept of going the extra mile. Who wouldn’t be for that, right?

    But the more I think about it, I think we have to be strategic and focused in decidng where we place extra effort. Taken to an extreme, ‘going the extra mile for a dinner party could mean making all aspects of the meal, including the pasta and desserts and drinks and hors d’oueuvres from scratch. Your own home-made crackers using home-grown organic wheat. Your own home-made Brie (using milk from those cows in the barn). Wine you made yourself using grapes …

    Okay, I am getting carried away but you get the point. I am a good cook and a less competent baker. As such, I will make my guests happier by purchasing bread and desserts rather than inflicting my unpredictable versions on them.

    I’m continuing the dinner party analogy, but obviously I am thinking more broadly than that. For example, someone recently polled her Facebook friends asking whether you should commit to finishing all the books you start. The ‘go the extra mile’ answer is probably yes, but I would say no. Life is too short to force yourself to slog through to the end of a boring book that is bringing little value to you.

    Sorry for the longwinded response. I just know I can’t give 110% all the time, nor do I think it is always warranted. Figuring out when it is most critical and when it makes the most difference is probably key.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

  4. Thanks for calling me out on this one, Krista. I agree that there are times that giving 110% or not going the extra mile is just not possible, or even desirable. Figuring it out is the key, as you say.

    But I am also concerned that sometimes we give up too easily, without really taking the time to figure it out. I’m not going to be baking anytime soon, because I basically suck at it. What I did do at my next dinner (just last week – I enjoy eating AND having the company) was to make hot caramel ice cream sundaes for dessert. I make a really mean home-made hot caramel sauce. I usually only do these in the summer, but I think my guests appreciated it and I didn’t have to bake OR buy dessert (well, I bought the ice cream).

    I am sure there are going to be times when I won’t make it, but I am still planning on asking myself CAN I DO BETTER. If so, I want to at least analyze if I want to.

  5. *I* certainly don’t think it’s wrong! In fact, to me, the act of MAKING THE BROWNIES is the extra mile. Making brownies from a mix is a stretch for me, because I buy them if I want them for anything. In fact, brownies were bought for Christmas along with lemon cake.

    That said – do you really not put your name on them? Because if that’s true – does this mean you are ashamed of making something from a mix? Why? What do any of us have to be ashamed of if we use a mix?

    I’d be proud to eat your made-from-a-mix brownies, cuz they probably still beat store bought. Still an extra mile in my book.

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