Jack Welch, former CEO of GE used to tell people to

"Get out of the pile."

In other words, differentiate yourself from the pack. It is all too common to just punch in, keep busy, and then punch out. But that isn't how you want to live, do you? That isn't how you want to give the best years of your life, is it? My assumption is that if you're taking the time to read blogs like this, it's because you want your life to matter, to make a difference. Not just be part of the pile.

Here are a few thoughts to get you started.

1) Exceed expectations Think about your job. The phone calls, emails, meetings, reports, and tasks. You can do less than expected, just what is expected, or you can crush expectations. If we were to ask your co-workers, what would they say is your norm? Yes, get the job done, but what could you do to make it even better? More memorable? More helpful? Take the time to do that.

2) Make it happen At this point, many of my friends are cringing. That phrase has been burned into our minds. If you want a reason why something cannot be done, my 5 year old daughter can do that. Any critic can do that. The pile does that. Simply put…leaders lead. Leaders find a way both personally and professionally.

We all confront problems to solve everyday both simple and complex. We HAVE to find solutions. We HAVE to make it happen. At some point, someone will, and that person will be the one to leave you in the pile. When we can't make it happen, the message we send is,

"If I can't make it happen for me, I can't make it happen for you."

The message we want to consistently send is,

"I can make it happen for me and I'll make it happen for you too."

3) Capacity to grow As we "exceed expectations" and "make it happen," we are showing we have the capacity to grow. The person we are now is not who we'll be in 6 months. As we are confronted by more opportunities and obstacles, we rise to the challenge so that we can rise to the even higher one after that. This is how growth happens. You don't increase muscle by reading workout magazines. You need to actually pump out more reps than you think you can. In your leadership, it's the same way. Reading, although helpful, isn't enough.

Look around you. There are problems to solve. Expectations to exceed. Opportunities to invest deeply.

Let's get out there and give our best. Don't leave anything on the field today. Go to sleep exhausted, yet satisfied and GET OUT OF THE PILE.