It’s My Problem

Regular readers of this weekly column in newspapers, magazines, and online publications around the world know that one of the greatest influences in my life and career is the work of Napoleon Hill. Hill had many groundbreaking lessons derived from his interviews with hundreds of the most successful people of his era. One of these profound principles is the concept of going the extra mile. Hill was born in the 19th century and did his research in the early 20th century.

Here in the 21st century, our job descriptions and roles tend to be very well-defined. People know what they are responsible for, and they also know what they are not responsible for. The difference between top-level performers and average people is the fact that top-level performers strive to serve their customers or clients in the marketplace and put everyone ahead of themselves in their personal lives.

Average people merely go to the boundary of their job descriptions or minimal expectations and stop there, often using the excuse, “It’s not my job.”

My father passed away last year, and in addition to dealing with the emotion of losing one of the most significant people in my life, I served as executor of his estate. Thankfully, I’ve had a wonderful relationship with several lawyers, accountants, and my friend and financial advisor, Matt Monger, at Merrill Lynch.

Matt and his team stepped in and performed a number of tasks to serve me and my family during a very difficult time. Very few of the tasks that Matt and his team undertook on our behalf were actually their job or their responsibility.

Ronald Reagan may have said it best when he stated, “We can accomplish anything if we don’t care who gets the credit.” After making that statement, a reporter asked Reagan who had originated that saying. Reagan responded that he had no idea, which really made his point.

If everyone on your team is focused on getting the credit for themselves or attributing the blame to others while they only pursue minimal expectations, it is virtually impossible to succeed. On the other hand, if everyone on your team is focused on the goal line and committed to getting there as a team regardless of mistakes or sacrifices made by individual team members, it’s almost impossible to fail.

If you have a customer, client, friend, or loved one in need of anything that will improve their life, it’s your job.

As you go through your day today, pursue high goals, not minimal expectations.

Today’s the day!

About the author: Jim Stovall is the president of the Emmy-award winning Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of more than 50 books—eight of which have been turned into movies. He is also a highly sought-after platform speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at; or by phone at 918-627-1000.

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