“I once was better at this than I am.”
—Arthur C. Brooks, American social scientist, musician, and columnist
Image from Unsplash by Armand Khoury
Where are you still climbing the ladders of life? Where do you continue to learn, grow, and achieve new levels of excellence and mastery?
Where have you peaked in your personal and professional efforts? Where it is harder to keep up with your former self?
In what areas of your life have you noticed declines in physical or mental capacities, and how well are you doing navigating this descent?
Consider reading Brook’s book From Strength to Strength and pay particular attention to the concepts of fluid versus crystalized intelligence. These concepts were first described by Raymond Cattell in his 1971 book, Abilities: Structure, Growth, and Action.
I hope these resources offer you evidence and that we can all keep getting better in ways we may previously not have considered.
“One key to knowing joy is to be easily pleased.”
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?
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.”
—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?
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.”
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?
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.”
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.
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.”
—Brendon Burchard, High Performance Author
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.
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
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.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit.”
“It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.”
“Do more of what makes you awesome.”
“How can we become a cause and not just a company?”
—Tim Ogilvie, New York City-based Entrepreneur
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.
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?
“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
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.
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 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
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.
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?