A million dollars on the line

The next time you attend a class, show up to work, counsel a student, etc., imagine you and your cohorts were being silently observed and evaluated all day by a committee whose job was to decide who made the biggest impact that day. The best part? The winner gets a one million dollar prize.

Would you slouch through that class without raising your hand?

Would you do what’s asked at work, but nothing more?

Would you explain away a student’s concern about her college essay in a rush to get to your next appointment?

Not if there were a million dollars on the line. You’d spend the entire day leaning in, looking for ways to do better and to contribute more, to help not just yourself get ahead, but also those around you. After all, if you’re being measured on impact, why limit it to yourself? Spreading your best, most generous efforts around makes your impact grow, too.

What would happen if you spent today as if a million dollars were on the line? What if you did it again tomorrow? What if you made it a habit?

Imagine how things might change if your default were to show up as if a million dollars were on the line. There’s no playbook for being successful. But it’s hard to see how you could ever go wrong with this strategy.