“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Definition: The quality of being excellent; state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree; exalted merit; superiority in virtue.
I was in Portland this past week taking a speaking workshop with Barbara Kite who I will continue to study with over the next few months. Barbara was passionately committed to each of her student’s success and she had a toolbox full of methods and techniques to help us find our authentic voice. While these techniques are all based in compassion and empathy, they often make you feel naked, frustrated and fragile. Apparently, this is the objective. Barbara claims that until we can give up the BS, and stop making it all about ourselves, we will never achieve excellence in speaking. I believe her 100%.
It is truly intriguing to me was the incredible similarities between becoming an excellent speaker and becoming an excellent coach, or real estate agent, or an athlete. To achieve excellence we must go beyond; beyond the imaginary boundaries that being ordinary has set.
To go beyond the ordinary boundaries takes personal strength.
Personal strength is grounded in self-knowledge, which gives us the confidence to be open to new ways of thinking and seeing. Personal strength is built when we push through our fears and our discomfort and arrive on the other side of our challenges. Personal strength is rewarded with the attainment of our life’s dreams.
What is the path to excellence?
- Create your own personal definition of what excellence really means to you. It must be true to your core, completely free of fibs and lies and fully aligned with your personal values. If your definition of excellence is murky, diluted or borrowed, you’ll chase it and never catch it.
- Focus on your definition of excellence daily. Stay present. Don’t look back and don’t dream forward. Focus on what you can do to achieve excellence here and now.
- Maintain discipline. No one ever became excellent at anything without practice. Think music, sports, acting. The majority of people who fail to reach their dreams of excellence, do so because they lack the discipline to make it happen.
- Stay in action consistently. Procrastination has no place on the road to excellence.
Seems simple doesn’t it? Like winning a Gold Medal or Performing Beethovan. Not necessarity simple but rewarding.
In my experience, people will push through to achieve excellence when their desire is stronger than their resistance.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle