A Coaching Power Tool Created by Ian Hanavan
(Sports Coach, BELGIUM)
There is one thing that separates Extraordinary from Ordinary, and that is the word “EXTRA”.
In a certain sports scenario, professional athlete Merit had to run sprints on the basketball court and touch certain lines on the parquet and return to the same position and continue this for a determined amount of reps and time. Now, that seemed rather straightforward, though Merit thought he could cheat the system by not paying attention to the small detail of touching the lines. He chose to stop short of the line and not touch it so that he would make sure to reach the quota of sprints given by the coach. He feared not reaching the goal. He accepted being ordinary and his actions proved him such.
His teammate Ilkay, already fatigued because of the training, realized that sprints would crush him physically and there was a strong possibility that he would not take the time and reps. Ilkay had a moment where he envisioned himself skipping the lines and reaching the goal, but he didn’t entertain it too long because he committed himself to do the RIGHT thing and abided by the instructions of the coach to touch the lines in the sprints even if it hindered him achieving the goal. Ilkay faced fear but chose not to give into it. He engaged in becoming extraordinary. His actions were something EXTRA.
You might ask, “What is the difference that separated one player as extraordinary from the other who remained ordinary?” The ordinary athlete didn’t touch the lines, go the extra mile, push through the wall, do the extra, or whatever you might want to add to that list. Merit cheated himself; he gave in to his version of fear that became an obstacle. This obstacle he did not want to face so he chose to be ordinary. His teammate, Ilkay, on the other hand, did something extraordinary. He did not give in to his fatigue, or his fear of not making the time, or touching all the lines. He faced the obstacle head-on and believed he could accomplish the task set before him. He chose to give his best and be extra at that moment.
We all have opportunities in life where we are faced with life’s proposals to be extraordinary or ordinary. When faced with these decisions we can choose the path of least resistance or voluntarily participate to journey upward and onward toward the challenging path of becoming extraordinary.
Definition of Ordinary
With no special or distinctive features; normal. Not interesting or exceptional; commonplace. – Oxford English Dictionary.
Ordinary is settling. Deep down in the recesses of a person’s heart, there is a voice that wants to explore their passion. Somewhere on the timeline in life, they make the conscious decision to stop listening to that voice. When the listening stops, the exploration into that passion begins to fade. Ordinariness begins to manifest. Ordinary people choose to settle for what seems to be normal and not listen to their passion.
Ordinary is to stop dreaming. Dreaming can play a pivotal role in helping someone continue to work toward their goals. Visualizing an outcome and putting the necessary steps together to achieve that dream is a process. Ordinary people see that process and allow themselves to become overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into achieving their dreams, so they stop imagining. They diagnose themselves as being allergic to working toward their desired outcome.
Ordinary is the following. Following is an essential aspect that contributes to life. However, when it becomes the compass of one’s life, a no questions asked, just put your head down and follow and blend in with how things are supposed to be, it can turn into a lifestyle of becoming ordinary. Inside each person at their core is a voice that tells them what is the right direction of success. This voice can be named intuition, True North, truth, gut, wisdom, essential self, and more. The name is not so much the issue, but the guidance it gives is of the utmost importance. There are always decision-making opportunities to make. These decisions are not always easy, and at times will call you to go in the opposite direction of what everyone else thinks and says to do. Deep down the person knows what to do, but because of wanting to please and being afraid to lead or being different, they choose the easy option of following and taking the path that they’re not called to take. This path is the way of becoming ordinary.
Definition of Extraordinary
Very unusual or remarkable. Unusually great.
A common approach to becoming extraordinary can be summed up with the mentality which states, “To hell with the circumstances, I create opportunities.”
Extraordinary is becoming. Coaching clients to “become” is simply giving them space, through their awareness, to realize how special and unique they truly are. When someone simply “becomes” there’s an authentic acceptance of where one is at and knowing that they are changing and developing into someone that has a purpose. The discovery of their purpose is that which defines and contributes to who they are. Whenever the client enters into creating and contributing to whatever endeavor is before him, the state of becoming extraordinary develops.
Extraordinary is creating. There is creativity in the doing. Creating is an action. Actions need to be given life. All of us have things planned inside our heads, but extraordinary people know that putting those things into motion and giving them life happens in the doing. During the creation process, a person begins to learn about themselves on a deeper level. That deeper level that has been traveled and experienced through one’s habits, tendencies, and passions.
Extraordinary is love. When we choose to love ourselves, despite all our imperfections, we metamorphose into something beautiful. We stop listening to other people’s definitions and labels of who we are. We quickly bring to a halt the voices in our heads that are false narrators. We become the narrator and regain control of our destiny. We turn our toleration of ourselves into a celebration of who we are. That is a mindset shift. This shift can be achieved when one is tenderly loving themselves; mind, body, and soul. Choosing to love ourselves helps us transcend our circumstances and our definition of reality. There is a spirit of contagiousness when ordinary people are around others who operate in love. Love heals, connects, binds together tenderly, promotes, and self-guides toward extraordinariness.
This power tool aims to enlighten the client that becoming extraordinary is very achievable. The difference between good and great is always in the details, the small things, that if paid attention to, and applied with intention, open up a world that transforms the individual. When the client begins to see the potential harm that settling manifests, he will then be faced with a decision to make. “Do I stay where I am at or do I reach out for something better?” If the client stops dreaming and always follows and never examines his true wants and needs, he will again be faced with a life-changing decision. “Shall I choose greatness filled with inspiration, or remain at the status quo and be filled with the reality of never having truly contributed to my life?” If a person is honest with themselves (when no one is looking) there is a calling to be great inside their interior. Everybody has the wisdom that whispers to their soul, “there’s a better version of you waiting to be lived out..”
A client who is stuck in the trenches can get out and see the beautiful landscape when they simply become, begin to create, and ultimately love themselves. Once they begin to see, they cannot un-see. Once they begin to taste, they cannot un-taste. Becoming extraordinary, the client will see that it’s not merely titles, or accomplishments, or recognition that they desire. They will begin to allow their dreams and aspirations and goals to be unearthed and exposed for the world to see. They will become in touch with their true self by loving themselves and loving the creative process in doing whatever it takes to be extraordinary.
How has living ordinarily served you thus far in your life? What contentment has settling for the status quo given you? What passions have you stopped dreaming about? What insights have come up for you when realizing you have chosen to follow rather than lead? What have you learned about yourself when operating in ordinariness? What would it take for you to change from living ordinarily to living extraordinarily?
What does being extraordinary look like to you? How impactful would it be for you to live extraordinarily? What does becoming mean for you? What does living a life of creating a look like? If love is the way, what lifestyle changes would you have to make to embrace it?
Who do you want to be? You have the choice of being extraordinary or ordinary. Once you see, you can’t un-see. And once you taste, you can’t un-taste. Happy choosing!
Beck Martha (2001) Finding Your Own North Star: claiming the life you were meant to live.