Out of the Ordinary

Hustle. Be remarkable, special. Obsess or be average. Differentiate.

Every day we urge others, and are urged ourselves, to do something different than we did the day before. Breathless book titles, blog headlines, and speakers tell us that to succeed we need to figure out how to create special, unique things. And we need to do this every. Single. Day.

It’s exhausting.

You can’t be remarkable every single day. By definition. If you were, the sheer uniformity of your remarkableness would make it unremarkable. You can’t exponentially hustle more tomorrow than you hustled today. If you hustled only one hour Monday, and then doubled your hustle every day thereafter, you’d be out of hustle hours by Thursday.

Our push to continuously excel and differentiate and hustle has, in many cases, become the focus of our content practice, our career. It breeds a hurriedness to our life.

I had a call the other day with one of my clients. We’d been talking about how to bring joy back into the job. We talked about quitting social media, getting more focused, or figuring out how to take quality time for creativity. She said, “When did I stop allowing my days to be elegant? When did I start believing that I wasn’t enough unless I kept pace?” Then she said the thing that most resonated with me: “My favorite moment of the last week was sitting on my porch watching it snow. I savored every moment of that quiet, ordinary scene.”

It was her slowed-down absorption in the ordinary that gave her access to the extraordinary.

We can access the extraordinary through the quiet, ordinariness of our work, too – if we’re willing to give up feeling superior (or inferior) to those around us. If we’re willing to be comfortable with ourselves. If we’re willing to find the “special” inside ourselves, rather than only in some external measurement of validation.

Next time you find yourself striving to create the most special piece of content ever, do the equivalent of going outside and sitting one your porch to watch it snow: Give your full, unencumbered attention to your work in all its ordinariness. That’s when the extraordinary can emerge.

Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS.

Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
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Author: Robert Rose
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS. Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.

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