Road to excellence

Consider these tips as a navigation guide as you embark on this exciting journey

People who strive for excellence stand out from the crowd. Their demeanour is unmistakable: you can tell that they mean business and will always deliver—no matter what. We tend to rely on these people and expect outstanding work from them.

Were these people born with excellence? Absolutely not! Excellence is an acquired skill that comes from nurturing and mentoring. Our parents, teachers, peers, and mentors, as well as the environment all play important parts in achieving this. The good news is that it is never too late to achieve excellence—as long as you are committed and are prepared to exercise the discipline and action required.

It is much easier to be excellent than not to be excellent. This may be difficult to believe, but consider how good you feel about your work when you are striving for excellence. And how this leads to your team feeling good, as well as your customers. In fact, striving for excellence can give you many rewards and can create a positive energy chain. The reverse is true when you do half-hearted work.

Excellence is a game of inches. Every one thing you do a little bit better creates excellence. So become an inch better—as a parent, spouse, employer, employee, professional, or friend—and see what a difference that inch makes. Remember, the difference between the person who wins the race and the person who comes second, is only an inch!

Aristotle said: “You are what you repeatedly do.” Excellence is thus not an act, but a habit. Most of us do things unconsciously most of the time. So once you form a habit of striving for excellence, it will become second nature and you will perform excellently unconsciously.

Giving extraordinary service is one way of achieving excellence. The more you put into the bowl of service, the more you get back in the bowl of rewards. If you want to increase your rewards in life, increase your service. Do common things uncommonly well and see how your rewards increase.

Striving for excellence means going the extra mile in everything you do. Many people settle for expediency: doing just enough to get by. What they don’t realise is that they are taking a shortcut to failure. Going the extra mile is a long-term approach. It takes effort, and often requires you to sacrifice short-term pleasure. However, once you go the extra mile, you find that there is less competition and the road becomes clearer.

Keeping an open mind and embracing lifelong learning are stepping-stones to achieving excellence. So learn from every encounter, every experience and every person, every defeat, setback and opportunity. You’ll discover that instead of being frustrated with differences, you are enriched and enlightened by them. What a brilliant approach to learning! As you learn, you keep on growing. And as you keep on growing and learning, you embrace excellence in your life.

Excellence means being well-rounded. It means living a balanced life with time for your family, service, health and spirituality. Leading a balanced life can create synergy and avoid burnout, allowing you to sustain your excellence and continue reaping long-term rewards without compromising your family, health or spirituality. In fact, by being well rounded, you will start to display excellence in all these areas because excellence has become a habit!

You can demonstrate excellence by having a passion for what you do. When you love what you do, you do your work with gusto and enthusiasm. Generally, this comes about when you align your work with your personal mission. You may need to do some soul searching to discover your noble calling and purpose in life. Try exploring your personal mission through meditation and reflection. By going into silence you connect with your spirit and trigger your intuition and gut feeling—your sixth sense.

Excellence is displayed in the moment of choice. How do you handle yourself when you are tested and challenged? How do you choose your priorities when put to task? Do you resort to your higher self when given the temptation to stoop low? These are choices you make in the moment of integrity, and they can separate the great from the mediocre.

Have faith in what you do. This will pave the way for you to persist and get better at what you are doing. If you keep jumping from one thing to another, you seldom acquire excellence. Excellence requires that you stick out whatever path you have chosen. When you dilly-dally in making decisions, you send out a message of lack of confidence and foresight, which are intrinsic to excellence.

People who strive for excellence exude confidence and stand out from the crowd! They are admired for the results and spark they create!

This was first published in the September 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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