Years ago I accepted a challenging assignment to drive quality improvement in my company’s products to increase customer satisfaction. It was challenging because the product was already considered best in class across a broad product line. This meant not making dramatic improvements in any particular product because that wasn’t needed, but making incremental improvement over many product designs was desired!

After much deliberation it was decided that the entire division needed to become product champions if the program was to achieve the desired results. To capture the essence of the challenge, the program was called "Above and Beyond." If it was to succeed everyone needed to expand their thought paradigms to embrace change as well as adopt an overwhelming desire and determination to achieve success. How did that manifest itself?

Obviously everyone had to buy into the program mission and goals and how this pertained to them. From this first step, the following were lessons learned as captured in summary from the feedback of those involved. These lessons learned, from a program which greatly exceeded expectations, are worthy to pass on.

Going "Above and Beyond" means doing more than required. Remember this, doing what's expected can make us good at what we do, but going "Above and Beyond" what's required can make us great at what we do!

Playing it safe is dangerous and can stifle your future. Get the juices of your ambition flowing, and get some great stuff done. Take on more than you can handle, then do what is necessary to handle it. Promise more than you can deliver, then find a way to deliver more than you have promised.

Stop waiting around, hoping you'll come across something that makes you more passionate about life. Strive to put more effort, with determination and commitment, into what you're doing, and you'll be overflowing with passion … AND achieve success.

As the late Lou Tice, past chairman and co-founder of the Pacific Institute, stressed you need to expand your reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is that part of your brainstem that plays a central role in bodily and behavioral alertness. Expanding your RAS allows you to more readily see opportunities that are right in front of you, staring you right in the face. Then seize those opportunities and jump into them with everything you have.

Do what you know you can do, then do a whole lot more to get the job done – that’s the very definition of going "Above and Beyond!" No one can make it happen for you, so get going and make it happen. All it takes is a willingness to do what it takes. Your reward is there for the taking so what’s standing in your way.

Think about it…