The difference you make is in the details…

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

Charles Swindoll

What matters more, the really big things or the little details? When I think of a great customer experience it is rarely the over the top stuff that makes the big impression. Instead it is the tiny details that create unexpected delight and moments of joy.

When a team member at Chick Fil A says “my pleasure” it doesn’t make the sandwich taste any better, but the tiny detail of conveying a servants promise in a genuine manner flavors the entire experience. When a server at a restaurant notices that I drink several cups of coffee through my breakfast and unexpectedly delivers a “to go” cup of hot coffee when they bring me the check they are delivering more value than expected and demonstrating that they are paying attention to what matters to me, not themselves.

The little details that happen all around us every day are the things that make the biggest difference when we slow down long enough to notice them. They are the things that make the biggest difference to others when we slow down long enough to deliver on them…

Think about your day yesterday, what were the small details that created the great experiences for you? What small things did you do for others that had the potential to elevate the experience from simply good too great? Even if those things you did weren’t noticed right away, or even at all, they matter. They matter for both the people you are doing them for, but perhaps even more importantly, they matter because it shows the degree of care and discipline you bring to your world and demonstrates the commitment you have to not simply being good but to being great.

Pay attention to the world today and the experiences that happen around you. What are the smallest details that impact you the most? What are the little things you are going to do that demonstrate your commitment to excellence?

Take inventory. Take notice. Pause to appreciate. Deliver your own greatness through the details.

The sand in our shoes…

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Muhammad Ali

When I was younger I went hiking and had a pebble/sand in my boot but since I was in a hurry to get to the top of the mountain I didn’t want to take the time to stop and clean out my boots. I paid dearly for that decision as I naturally developed a huge blister and the entire hike down the mountain was painful.

A similar thing happened to me when I was racing Ironman Florida. I was on the run portion of the race and my shoes/socks were bothering me but I didn’t want to slow down and take the time to readjust and figure out how to get more comfortable. In that moment of the race it felt like those couple of minutes would be a real loss of momentum. Of course, as time went on the problem compounded and the last 5-6 miles of the race were really really painful.

How often does this apply in life? We are on a mission, headed towards our objective and there is “sand in our shoes?” We don’t want to slow down or take the time to take care of ourselves when that is exactly what we should do to ensure that we can achieve our longer term goals. It’s not the objective itself, it is the little things that add up that make achieving that objective possible.

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