What Is Excellence To You?

by John Spence on · 15 comments

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

John Spence is the author of “Awe­somely Sim­ple — Essen­tial Busi­ness Strate­gies for Turn­ing Ideas into Action.” He is an award-winning pro­fes­sional speaker and cor­po­rate trainer, and has been rec­og­nized as one of the Top 100 Busi­ness Thought Lead­ers in America.
John Spence
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