I spent time with people who overcame tragedy…and created something great. I spent time with others who built extraordinary organizations based on their passion alone
Marina Del Rey, CA (Vocus) February 18, 2010
When Shawn Anderson created the Extra Mile America Tour, he had two purposes in mind. 1) Shawn wanted to recognize extraordinary people who were “going the extra mile” and making a difference in life. 2) He wanted to encourage others to “go the extra mile” in order to create life change and success…in jobs, in relationships, in money, and in health. To accomplish this goal, Shawn literally pedaled the extra mile on his bicycle – from San Francisco to Boston – and interviewed inspirational people in cities and towns across the country who are providing incredible acts of service to others. “I spent time with people who overcame tragedy…and created something great. I spent time with others who built extraordinary organizations based on their passion alone,” says Shawn. He continues, “The inspirational stories of these extra mile Americans remind us that we have an alternative to throwing our hands in the air and giving up. We can dig deep…go the extra mile…and effect practically every area of our life in a positive way.”
After 4,000 miles and over 200 interviews, Shawn discovered that there are eleven distinctive qualities that extra mile people have in common.
1. They have a defined purpose. They know what they want out of life, and they are passionate in their pursuit of these goals. They search within themselves to find their strengths and pursue activities that “sharpen their ax.”
2. They look to add value to others. They understand the fundamental interconnectedness of all that is around them. They add value to others not only to receive value back in their own lives, but just for the sake of bringing joy to someone else’s life.
3. They don't make excuses. They focus on reasons why they can do something, not why they can’t. They do not blame others; rather, they accept responsibility for their lives and hold themselves accountable.
4. They grow "good" from "bad." They know that they have a choice in how to react to every event or occurrence in their life, so they do not surrender to negative emotions. In response to tragedy or loss, they build, create, and lift up.
5. They make every day count (realizing each day is a new start). They know time is a gift and they strive to make the best use of their gift every day. They take small steps daily to reach their big goals.
6. They link up with others. They surround themselves with the best, so that they can feed off of and be inspired by those around them. They forge relationships, connections, and alliances so that positive energy flows into their lives.
7. They choose to leave life footprints. They create lasting impressions on those who meet them and build a legacy that endures. Their actions make the lives of those around them better.
8. They don't quit on life. They persevere because they are empowered and motivated by their mistakes and failures. They recognize rejection as a necessary obstacle, not the end of the road.
9. They are passionate about what they do. They have a fire within them that pushes them forward, and they experience true satisfaction in following their purpose.
10. They don't accept the status quo; they believe something better exists. They realize that the circumstances of today do not define the potential for tomorrow, and they never lose hope. They take the initiative to make changes that will lead to a brighter future.
11. They try harder. They know that you reap what you sow, and they direct all their efforts toward success. They do not give up.
And Shawn did more than just talk and pedal. He also gave away $10,000 of his own money - $1,000 each to the 10 “Extra Mile Americans” he felt were especially inspiring.
Throughout the three-month tour, Shawn earned the endorsements of Mayors from Oakland to Salt Lake City to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. to Boston. Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, had this to say about the Extra Mile America Tour: “One person riding his bike across the country – helping to shine the light on local heroes and organizations – inspires us all to go the extra mile.” In addition to endorsements from across the country, 23 cities and states were inspired to create an “Extra Mile Day” to encourage their citizens to “go the extra mile” in service, volunteerism, and effort.
With a life mission of “empowering 1 million people to live a more passionate and purposeful existence,” Shawn’s fire to go the extra mile was further fueled by President Obama’s call asking, “What are you doing to make a difference?” Shawn decided he needed to do more, and created the Extra Mile America Tour. Throughout the tour, Shawn had the opportunity to highlight extra mile people from coast to coast during press conferences and TV, radio, and newspaper interviews.
Shawn Anderson is the author of four books including Soar to the Top and Amicus 101: A Story About the Pursuit of Purpose and Overcoming Life’s Chaos. Currently, he is completing Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose that will feature many of the inspirational people he met during the Extra Mile America Tour.
Shawn Anderson is available for motivational speaking, corporate training, success coaching, and group fundraising.
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