Yesterday, my mother hosted a birthday party for my brother (April 4th) and myself (March 29th) and the food was incredible But it all started with a question, "How can I do this differently?" So instead of the normal birthday fare we had pecan-crusted salmon draped with a dill sauce, garlic-mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk and cilantro, spaghetti squash with three cheeses, asparagus with a Mediterranean sauce, etc. (plus a New York Style Cheesecake that my wife made from a recipe on Cook’s Illustrated that was simply phenomenal). All in all it was a birthday meal to remember. It was remarkable. And it all began with a simple decision—a decision to not make an ordinary meal.
Sometimes, companies and organizations make creating something remarkable far more difficult than it needs to be. While there is a process to it, creating remarkable always begins with a decision to not be ordinary. Food doesn’t need to be ordinary, neither does leadership or management. Systems don’t need to be ordinary. Mp3 players don’t need to be ordinary. HR manuals don’t need to be ordinary. Accounting reports don’t need to be ordinary. Realtors don’t need to be ordinary. Financial advisers don’t need to be ordinary. Karate studios don’t need to be ordinary. Nor do churches or associations or arts programs or schools or colleges or marriages or families or . . .
Nothing you or I do has to be ordinary. Everything we do can be remarkable. But it all starts with a decision to not be ordinary. In fact, you can start today. Refuse to cook an ordinary meal, today. Refuse to have an ordinary conversation, today. Refuse to write an ordinary report, today. Refuse to do today the same way you did yesterday. Why? Because remarkable always begins with a simple decision—a decision to not be ordinary. So just refuse it and you’ll find a whole new world opening up to you.
P.S. If you want the recipes for the garlic-mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk and cilantro and/or the New York Style Cheesecake, you can get a free 14 day trial at Cook’s Illustrated and download both of them (or better yet, sign up for a year and take advantage of their incredible recipes). Note: If you’re unfamiliar with them, the America’s Test Kitchen people are like the Consumer Reports people of the culinary world. They test 45 cheesecake recipes (so you don’t have to) and give you the best one they can find (or they test cookware or food manufacturers or . . . ).