Going the extra mile is something that has always been extremely important to me. You could say it’s one of the guiding principles of my life (though you could also argue that my “softness” is just as important, if not more “core” to who I am). But the concept of going the extra mile isn’t really exactly the same as drive and determination and motivation, nor is it exactly the same as being a perfectionist and being ambitious and all that. Being a perfectionist is something I was just sort of born with, but the way that I “go the extra mile” is something that…well, okay, you could argue that I tended to have that a little early on too.
I think what it boils down to is the desire to exceed expectations. I love exceeding expectations, which is why when I talk about my experiences back in high school marching band, you can tell that even though I had more “full” and/or “epic” experiences as a drum major in my senior year, I was more fulfilled and comfortable as a section leader in my junior year. Part of that was a difference in expectation. When I was a drum major, I was a damn good drum major, if I do say so myself, but most of the things I did just sort of felt like part of the job description. I did them -well-, sure, but it was still just doing my role, in some regards. Being a section leader, however…being a section leader in my band never meant taking any =real= leadership role. So when I did all of these special things and made sure my section was the best it could be, and even pushed the other people in the band, and all that–it felt great, because all of that was “extra”. Stuff that I didn’t have to put in, but I did anyways. It wasn’t because of pressure or responsibility or anything like that. I just wanted to do it, and so I did. Whereas as a drum major, it felt like I didn’t have a =choice=.
Anyways, what I mean by going the extra mile is having that sort of “go get em” attitude in the here and now…it’s the kind of thinking that you might even consider a little rash. It’s the thing that drove Mulan to go off on her adventure, for instance. It’s where, when you’re confronted with your own deficiency, you counteract it right then and there (or if not, as soon as possible), by doing something to totally smash it. It’s where you say I’m going to do this =now= and not “later”, because you realize that “later” is so fuzzy, so hard, so easily dropped.
So, it’s something that’s different than the way that I just constantly keep up with bunches of things in my life, but at the same time very related and very relevant. And I think people see both of those traits in me, since they show up in so many different things that I do.