Several years ago a client asked me to deliver a speech on "The Essence of Excellence." I won't drag you through the entire process, but I spent weeks re-reading books from my library, calling CEOs and college/university Presidents and asking everyone I could get to talk to: What is excellence to you?
In the end it came down to three key watchwords…
FOCUS: To be truly excellent at anything you must have an incredibly clear definition of what excellence is to you, what it will look like in your life and how you will measure it. I call this your "Personal Philosophy of Excellence." Once you have thoughtfully created your own personal philosophy of excellence you must then focus on it intensely, day in and day out, always keeping a clear picture of specifically what you must do to achieve the level of excellence you honestly want in your life.
DISCIPLINE: Once you have determined what excellence looks like to you and created a plan to move your life in that direction, you must then exhibit a level of discipline that most people are unwilling to put forth. Lots of people talk about excellence, many say they want to be more effective, successful, happier, more joyful… but is the rare person who applies consistent discipline in order to turn their plan… into reality.
ACTION: The amount of success you achieve in your life is directly proportional to the amount of action you apply to staying disciplined around your personal philosophy of excellence. Not quite clear on what excellence and success looks like to you? Or, you know exactly what you want but you're not very disciplined about pursuing it? Or perhaps you really understand what level of excellence you want to achieve, and you're very disciplined, but you just don't apply much action to your philosophy? The outcome is mediocrity, and we have a saying in my firm: " The minute you start accepting mediocrity in your life, you become a magnet for mediocrity in your life."
The truth is; the process to achieve excellence is not that complicated if you simply apply focus, discipline and massive action. Of course, the same could be said for winning an Olympic gold medal in the 100 yard dash; Run really fast – faster than everyone else!
by John Spence