Fight Mediocrity : Strive for Excellence

Excellence is the gradual results of always striving to do better.

Pat Riley

We strive for excellence. We drive for excellence. We seek excellence from ourselves. We surround ourselves with excellence.

It is a way of thinking and believing. It is not a destination. It has nothing to do with perfection or being perfect. In fact, we know that attaining perfection is the death to excellence, because it is the death of good.

Excellence comes from doing the thing over and over again, learning to do better, seeking better. You have to be good before you can be excellent at something. It is a state reached from working towards mastery, not being a master.

  • Do you take pride in your work?
  • Look for opportunities to improve?
  • Do you move forward with resilience, determination, and innovation? These are the hallmarks of those who are committed to excellence.

These all have to do with ourselves. Excellence is not a standard that we can easily place on others. Especially, if you haven’t clearly defined actionable and measurable results that shows your particular frame of reference for excellence.

As a leader, it is dangerous and all too easy to go too far with an expectation of others for excellence. Most people can’t define it, let alone articulate it, and it is so different for everyone. It is difficult to clearly define and will leave some of your team always wondering.

Either that or you will fall victim to the overuse that already exists for the word. We are abound with business excellence, centers for excellence, excellence in academia, and a host of meaningless rhetoric everywhere you turn. It is a gold standard that can be claimed by anyone and is seriously overused.

Instead of dictating this to your team, or demanding it of others. Keep that focus on yourself.

Demonstrate the behaviors that you believe in as you strive for excellence.

Role model what you believe. This is the best way to influence others. With your own behaviors and actions.

Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.

Gordon B. Hinckley

Fighting against mediocrity is good. Striving for more than okay is worthy.

Excellence is beyond competency. Competency is the state of being competent or suitable for the general role or ability. It’s good to be competent.

Excellence means that competency is not enough, and that you strive to regularly improve with a goal toward mastery.

This constant seeking for improvement. Of improving what you know about a subject and the skill you employ, so that your process continues to evolve and improve – this is at the heart of excellence.

With striving for excellence comes a great deal of learning intimately about a thing. And with that intimacy comes an uncommon way of viewing that subject. You see it in a new way and perhaps can contribute to a better understanding or a more unique way of viewing that subject.

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

Booker T. Washington

I am competent at some things. I’m working at excellence in something things. And I suck at some things.

I have to suck at some things, in order to be excellent at the things that are most important to me. I seek excellence in most of what I spend my time on. There are a few things that I work on regularly and consistently to improve. Where I am not satisfied with where I am, and want to understand intimately and do at my fullest capability.

I have a special affinity for those who strive for excellence or rather personal excellence. This doesn’t mean they are excellent at everything, I certainly am not even close on that one. But I do love to surround myself with others who also seek excellence.

Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.

Ralph Marston

What it does mean is that I most enjoy others who demonstrate personal excellence. Those who demonstrate integrity, accountability, intellectual curiosity, and those who develop themselves and are learning and growing as people.

It isn’t a merit rating. It isn’t an award. Or a center. It’s more than a buzzword.

Excellence becomes a way of looking at things. A principle of beliefs and how we choose to behave. It is a drive for more than good, where we take great delight from our purpose and reason for getting up every day.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


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