"It's an excellent article. Now what could you do to make it outstanding?"

That's the standard behavioural prompt that an editor uses with her team, and thinking that way is an excellent habit to develop. 

High-performing experts make the extraordinary seem routine. What's difficult and taxing for others has really become easy to them.

But therein lies a danger and an opportunity. What if dialling it in has caused you to stop trying to be outstanding? What if you consciously tried for extraordinary all over again? What if you developed an inner editor who gave you the same exhortation: 'It's excellent. Now how can it be outstanding?" 

Think of the thing you're good at, the thing that has become second nature. Studies on the brain show that as expert performers ply their trade, there is actually much less activity going on in their brains in comparison to the extraordinary amounts of activity seen in the brains of amateurs. Simply put: It eventually becomes easy for experts. 

So what if you made it hard again?  

I like to make a sort of game of this idea. For every presentation I do, I try ask myself: 'What does the special version of this look like?' and thereby challenge myself to find ways to aim higher. 

Could you take it up a notch in your world? Go from 'excellent' to 'extraordinary', and you could own your industry. 


Douglas Kruger is a multiple award-winning professional speaker, focusing on innovation, agile culture and expert positioning. Books like his, ‘They’re Your Rules, Break Them!’ are bestsellers, informing his conference speeches for leadership audiences. Book him as the motivational speaker for your next conference or event at www.douglaskruger.com.