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article imageOp-Ed: Motivational speaker/author believes in going the 'extra mile' Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Mar 30, 2014 in Lifestyle
Marina Del Rey - Going that "Extra Mile" is how someone can live a full life and make it meaningful; this is how motivational speaker and author Shawn Anderson view's life.
"Going the extra mile is how personal and organizational potential is maximized," he said. "It's an attitude that is followed up by action." "Personally, I do my best to go the extra mile in everything I do because why would I ever want the second best version of myself to show up in my place?"
Anderson believes so strongly in "going-the-extra mile" that he convinced 23 cities across America to participate in "Go-The-Extra-Mile" day back in 2009. Amazingly if not audaciously, Anderson managed to get over 400 cities to participate in the "Go-The-Extra-Mile campaign again in 2013.
"Extra Mile Day" has been held on November 1 since 2009. "It's growth and popularity keep increasing," noted Anderson. "It is a day recognizing the power we each have to create positive change in ourselves, our families, our organizations and our communities when we 'go the extra mile.'"
He talked to this reporter by phone to verify that each year since its inception originally as a bike tour across the country, "it has kept growing." Anderson said, this year in 2014, he wants to take his "Extra-Mile" message and vision global.
Anderson, a Nevada native who now calls California home has written over six books. More than 70,000 books in print, his most recent title is called, "A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over."
He says, "It's inevitable that at one time or another life will punch us hard in the gut. No one is immune to experiencing tragedy or failure," Anderson noted. "But when it's our turn to feel life's stomach blow, how will we handle it? Will we 'go the extra mile' and passionately keep on living?" "Or will we just give up and go through the motions?"
A political science major, after graduation from UC Berkeley, Anderson did some writing. He confessed he did not consider himself a writer. "it was just a tool to share a message," he said. Anderson first started writing instructional booklets on subjects like, "Countdown to College: Preparing Your Student for Success in the Collegiate Universe," and things like that. Yet his deep calling to help others inspired him to write more about facing life's struggles than just completing routine tasks and goals.
"Shawn is one of the most generous and compassionate people I've ever known," said Debra Amador DeLaRosa. As a publicist, she specializes in working with people like Anderson who seek to inspire and motivate people.
When the economic recession hit in 2008, Anderson saw how much it impacted people. He instinctively believed that people could bounce back from the down-turn. All they needed to do was look within themselves and not feel helpless. Anderson's writing skills and eagerness to help others now found a pivotal moment to set course for a direction and a life's journey.
Life Coach and motivational speaker Shawn Anderson receives the honor of  the keys to the city.
Life Coach and motivational speaker Shawn Anderson receives the honor of "the keys to the city."
Courtesy of Shawn Anderson
"He finds pure joy in shining a light on others' good deeds and/or special needs to make their life better," said DeLaRosa. "Shawn never lets challenges get in his way when sharing his message or achieving his goals." DeLaRosa worked on Anderson's initial bike tour campaign, helping to put it together, finding people to participate. "If there's a bump in the road (literally on his 'Extra-Mile- Tour'), he will not be stopped," she said. "He always finds a positive way to move around it, or to create a detour that keeps him on his path."
Anderson explained "that bike tour was a way for me to reach out to people and find inspiring people who have helped their community." He pulled together a small crew of six to eight people. "'Extra Mile America' was entirely self-funded and cost me personally close to $100,000. It took over a half a year to plan and coordinate," he said.
He noted there were "21 scheduled events in different cities across the country and over 90 days with the media, Mayoral offices, non-profits, and the 'Extra Mile Hero participation efforts." The trek on a bike went from Coast to Coast.
"From that tour, I promoted the "Go-The-Extra-Mile" day, he said. Anderson is amazed and grateful that his message and idea keeps growing. "I founded the Extra Mile America Foundation," he said. "It was created to maintain the positive energy and momentum established by the 2009 Extra Mile America Tour."
"I have known Shawn for over 10 years," said law professor Jinx Kennedy, J.D. "And I have hired him as a life coach," she said. "Shawn is very intelligent with a unique perspective on things and I like his upbeat attitude." "He helped me a lot, said Kennedy, especially to do the things I had been putting off to one side for a long time." "What Shawn says in his message makes sense," she added.
Grant writer Annika Ihnat sees the good that he and his message has done thus far. She took a moment to talk about that initial campaign.
"I met Shawn in 2009, when he biked 4,000 miles from coast to coast to meet with more than 200 people who had triumphed over tragedy and performed extraordinary acts of community service," said Ihnat. "In his "Extra Mile America Tour," Shawn shined a light on many of the unsung heroes across America, she said, people like Raynia Kinniston, a 50-year-veteran volunteer at Sacramento's Mercy Hospital."
"I think Shawn's work inspires hope and resolve in all of us, said Ihnat, by reminding us that we each have the power to change our life, our community and our world." "Shawn has not only shared this message far and wide, but has also served as a real-life example of this philosophy in action," she added.
There are literally dozens and dozens of motivational speakers out there, some very well-known like Anthony Robbins. So, this reporter asked him directly, what makes you, Shawn Anderson different from the rest? What makes you special and unique. "I am not in this to make money," he said. "I truly just want to help people."
Thankful to have established the non-profit foundation called, "Extra Mile America Foundation," Anderson said as a life-coach he strives everyday to walk the walk and practice what he preaches. "I can verify that, said Kennedy, from my experience in working with him, Shawn really does walk the walk that he preaches," she said. That is why Kennedy purchased not one or two of Anderson's book called "Amicus - 101." "I bought dozens of that book and gave them to my students, she said. "That book changed my life; it really did," Kennedy said.
"I believe in what Shawn is doing and I have seen him work, said Shelley Wax. She as a consultant who does outreach with various groups and programs and had asked Anderson to give a talk. "The talk, Anderson said, he remembered. "That was to her banking group and it was entitled 'I Can Climb Any Mountain.'"
Wax explained that in that group, there were a few that were not paying attention and one in particular that she described as troubled. "All those gathered for that corporate workshop could sense that one among them was like a shadow not really wanting to participate or be there." "Yet, Shawn really reached out." "He recognized that situation as an opportunity to not only connect but to provide something more than just a lecture," she said.
"Shawn is not shallow, he is really very deep," said Wax. She explained that this was not the only time she had seen him at work. But this particular situation she thought was profound. "It was the way he reached out to this troubled person, she said, it really provided us in the group that day with a life lesson."
Anderson said, later to clarify, "I do remember the outcast in which Shelley refers to." "It was a young woman who made a statement to me, 'This is all easy for you. You were born with privilege.'" "From there, said Anderson recollecting that day, a dialogue began." "First pointing out the reality to the young woman, that I was born far from privilege," he said. "And, that we each have the opportunity to make decisions and take action that lead to either our success or failure." "What we do today, said Anderson, always affects tomorrow.
Impressed by the way Anderson handled the challenge, "In fact, said Wax, in an interview by phone, Shawn doesn't just give talks, he provides life-lessons." "What Shawn showed us that day was that there really is no 'other' or 'them' privileged or not, rich or poor. Even if that person is filled with shadow, we, (and I am talking about humanity) she said, are us,"Shawn's life-lesson for that day was "there is no 'other' humanity is really all one," Wax noted.
Shawn Anderson has authored several books  gives speeches and seminars and is a life-coach.
Shawn Anderson has authored several books, gives speeches and seminars and is a life-coach.
Courtesy of Shawn Anderson
When hearing about Anderson's efforts to take his "Extra Mile" message global she like Dr. Kennedy was not surprised. "Shawn has a way of saying something to you directly in such a way that you actually hear it," said Wax. "You may have heard it said by other people over 100 times, but the way he says it and reaches out, the message gets through," she said.
Ihnat agreed with Wax as she said, "Shawn's message of hope and resilience has inspired me during difficult times in my life." "His message has certainly resonated with others as well," she pointed out. "In addition to working with 400 plus Mayors to inspire Americans to 'go the extra mile' through his Extra Mile Day campaign, Shawn's non-profit foundation has created a community of 34,000 Facebook users who promote this positive message via social media.
And, with the use of social media and other high-tech means of communication, Anderson said, "I really believe I can take my 'go-the-extra-mile' message to the world, that is what I and my crew are working on right now. So far the challenges have been the language barriers and reaching the various officials directly," he said.
Yet, believing in the power of his message and mission, Anderson knows he will succeed. And, friends and associates like Dr. Kennedy only have good things to say about Anderson. "I have no doubt that Shawn will be able to accomplish his goal by taking his message to the world. If anybody can, Shawn can," said Kennedy.
"My life mission, said Anderson is to empower one million people to lead a more positive and purposeful existence." "My 'juice' in life is helping others maximize potential. And, live a life they love," he said.
For more information about author, speaker and life coach Shawn Anderson, visit his "Extra Mile America Foundation, website.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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