One key to knowing joy is to be easily pleased.

“One key to knowing joy is to be easily pleased.”

—Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by NordWood Themes

We live in a world of constant comparison. It is driving many of us crazy.

Foolishly we believe that constantly pursuing excellence in all things is a sign of worldliness and higher status. Consider this list:

  • The vehicle you drive
  • The food you eat
  • Where you went to school
  • Your career or job
  • Your home
  • Your family and friends
  • Where you go on holiday or vacation
  • The water you drink

When we see ourselves as special, deserving only the best, we can become isolated. When no one or no-thing can meet our high standards on every occasion we are guaranteed to be let down.

What if instead, we seek to discover the specialness in all things that come our way as a path toward greater joy and happiness?

EXERCISE:

Consider reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling. I am sure you will be even more easily pleased with your life.

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”

—Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State

Go back in time and take a look at your report cards from your days at school. How were your grades, what were your favorite subjects? Where did you intentionally pursue and achieve levels of excellence?

How have things been going for you in your personal and professional worlds since those days?  What would your report card look like today, given the many roles you play in your various communities?

In what areas and in what ways have you developed the habit of pursuing excellence in matters both big and small?

EXERCISE:

What are a few areas of your life in which an adjustment of both attitude and effort would make the biggest difference and help you achieve big things?

“Measure wealth not by the thing you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.”

“Measure wealth not by the thing you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.”

—Author Unknown

Image from abcnews.go.com

It was the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games that inspired me to become a coach. Here were some of the best athletes in the world, and they all worked with a coach to pursue and achieve excellence in their chosen sport.

Where are you currently pursuing personal or professional excellence?

Did you know that based on current market prices, a 2016 Gold Medal is worth about $587, given that it is composed of 494 grams of silver and 6 grams of gold?

What do you think these symbols of extraordinary effort and achievement are worth to these remarkable athletes? What would you imagine is the intrinsic value of the Olympic experience?

EXERCISE:

In what ways do you live a gold medal life?

What in your life do you consider priceless?

Take some time today to be more fully grateful for all the blessings and riches we sometimes forget.

“Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

“Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Serena Repice Lentini

What percent of the time do you give your personal and professional activities your very best?

How often do you feel stretched and notice the burn physically, mentally, or emotionally as you take on a particular challenge?

In grade school, I had the opportunity to visit New York and climb to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. The 162 steps to the top seemed like a million. I recall the heat and shaking in my legs as I tried to keep pace.

No one was stopping to catch their breath on the various platforms, and I sure didn’t want to look like a slacker in front of my friends.

Twenty minutes or so from my first step, I received my crowning reward, seeing the panoramic view of New York’s skyline, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the Empire State Building.

EXERCISE:

Where in your world are you holding back your best efforts?

Where would taking those extra steps place you at a higher point to both see and pursue even greater personal and professional excellence?

Just because you can’t keep up doesn’t mean you can’t show up

“Just because you can’t keep up doesn’t mean you can’t show up.”

—Brendon Burchard, High Performance Author

Image of people running on the street

Image from Unsplash by Mārtiņš Zemlickis

Striving for excellence is a powerful thing. It gives us all a sense of passion and purpose that is fundamental to living a happy, fulfilled life. There is, however, a dark side to the pursuit of excellence when we compare ourselves to others that have demonstrated superior skills and abilities.

In such cases, many of us don’t even bother suiting up and showing up to contribute our abilities and capacities for fear of looking bad and not keeping up.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional issue is it time to summon the courage to show up and contribute your best, regardless of the outcome?

Friday Review: Excellence

FRIDAY REVIEW:  Excellence

Do you strive for excellence, or accept average? Here are a few excellence-related posts you may have missed. Click on the link to read the full message.

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit.”

 

 

 

 

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“It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.”

 

 

 

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“Do more of what makes you awesome.”

 

 

 

 

become a cause not a company

“How can we become a cause and not just a company?”

—Tim Ogilvie, New York City-based Entrepreneur

Image of Daniel Pink's book "Drive"

Employee engagement is a hot topic. Every day, I meet with business leaders pulling their hair out over the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent.

In his 2009 book Drive, Daniel Pink explores factors that engage and motivate employees to be their best, to be attracted to the organizations that fulfill their need for meaning and purpose.

Some companies do a better job than others at making a profound impact on the stakeholder groups they genuinely seek to serve.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you ignite and expand your company or organizational purpose?

How can tapping into this desire for a passionate purpose set you apart from your competitors?

How might it generate a waiting list of eager talented applicants who want to be part of something extraordinary?

See Their Magic

“To love a person is to see all of their magic and to remind them of it when they have forgotten.”

— Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by Linus Bohman

Image from Flickr by Linus Bohman

As part of my signature Personal Excellence Training, I spend an entire day with my client, getting to know them well and fully understanding their vision, values, and goals. This investment of time creates a special partnership called coaching, in which, over time, the magic of each individual is discovered and enhanced.

Throughout this coaching journey, most people experience setbacks and doubts about themselves, and their capacity to achieve their most cherished goals. We all need a committed and loving supporter to remind us of our magic when difficult times cause us to forget.

EXERCISE:

How can you demonstrate your love and caring for others by seeing their magic and reminding them of it when they forget?

Who are the caring people in your personal or professional worlds who could play this role for you?

“Excelling at any job is…”

“Excelling at any job is about doing the things you weren’t asked to do.”

—Mary Egan – founder of Gathering Table and Former Senior VP at Starbucks

Photo from www.soccer-daily.net

Photo from www.soccer-daily.net

What does it take these days to be extraordinary, exceptional, and remarkable? Notice how often you require events in your personal or professional world to meet those definitions in order to gain even a few moments of your valuable attention.

I recently saw a film titled “Dope,” which involved an ambitious, intelligent, and creative main character living in an undesirable Los Angeles neighborhood. He was pursuing his dream of attending Harvard, where straight “A’s” and top SAT/ACT scores are the bare minimum to even be considered.

The audience was taken on an amusing romp in which the character clearly demonstrated his capacity, creativity, and courage to do what was extraordinary, exceptional, and remarkable, and to excel and stand out.

EXERCISE:

How can you and the organization with which you associate foster an environment where people do the things they were not asked to do, to explore new levels of excellence?

“People are like tea bags…”

“People are like tea bags. You find out how strong they are when you put them in hot water.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States of America

Photo from Flickr by Eric Jusino

Photo from Flickr by Eric Jusino

Other than water, tea is the most popular drink in the world—so popular that its consumption is equal to that of coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol, combined!

Most of us have experienced pouring a cup of hot water over a bag or two, and watching it release its flavor within a few minutes. If you are a bit impatient, you may have even tried dunking the tea bag up and down to release its flavor even faster.

EXERCISE:

Consider the challenges, obstacles, and barriers you are facing today in either your personal or professional life. See them as hot water that brings out your greatest strengths, and your capacity for personal excellence.

How will you share your cup of life tea with others? How might you offer a little “hot water” to others, to help them discover their own inner strength?