The Paradox Of Excellence

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

pursuit-of-excellence

“Let’s do everything with excellence.”  OK, I thought as I heard the comment, that makes sense.  Who wants to be the opposite and do nothing with excellence.  I nodded my head like a good boy.  I’m in, let’s be excelllent.

Throughout my career I’ve heard different people making the excellence argument.  But I could never figure out what that meant.  The dictionary seems to indicate it’s “possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good.”  That seems clear.  Sort of.

Unfortunately excellence is not as ubiquitous as people want to think.  Michael Jordan is excellent, John Wooden was excellent, American Pie is excellent, Star Wars is excellent.  But is your radio station excellent?  Is it excellent because you say so?  Or is it the people who call and tell you how great you are, which never includes the voice of people who aren’t calling you.  Perhaps just your being there makes it excellent.

Saying so is easy, but achieving excellence is not.  Excellence is a quality that people appreciate partially because it is so hard to find.  And like many things, excellence is a journey, not a destination.  We should appreciate the work that went into achieving excellence more than excellence itself.

Which calls for a better understanding of what excellence is.  Fortunately the Internet can help you with whatever you need, and I found something that made great sense to me.  It’s a roadmap for excellence, sort of a ‘how-to” for those who really want to pursue excellence:

INTEGRITY – Match behavior with values.  Demonstrate your positive personal values in all you do and say. Be sincere and real.

FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS – Learn from mistakes, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  View failures as feedback that provides you with the information you need to learn, grow, and succeed.

SPEAK WITH GOOD PURPOSE – Speak honestly and kindly. Think before you speak. Make sure your intention is positive and your words are sincere.

THIS IS IT! – Make the most of every moment. Focus your attention on the present moment. Keep a positive attitude.

COMMITMENT – Make your dreams happen.  Take positive action. Follow your vision without wavering.

OWNERSHIP – Take responsibility for actions.  Be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. “Own” the choices you make and the results that follow.

FLEXIBILITY – Be willing to do things differently.  Recognize what’s not working and be willing to change what you’re doing to achieve your goal.

BALANCE – Live your best life.  Be mindful of self and others while focusing on what’s meaningful and important in your life. Inner happiness and fulfillment come when your mind, body, and emotions are nurtured by the choices you make.