Although many have thrown around the term, “committed to excellence”, do we really understand what it means? Aristotle had a novel definition of excellence, “these virtues are formed in a man by his doing the actions.” Will Durant’s interpretation of Aristotle’s sentiments eloquently summarized the meaning of excellence:
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit…Will Durant
Both men were definitely on to something. Excellence is a habit. The good news is that any habit can be formed. So what is the best way to create a new habit? Setting new goals and creating a plan of attack is a good strategy.
Define your reasons
The first step is to define your reason. Why are you committed to excellence? Your why becomes your motivation to keep going. Start by brainstorming your reasons. List every reason that comes to mind. Is it to increase business, improve your family life or something else? Write it down.
Be Passionate about what you do for work
If you want to excel at work, become passionate about what it is you do daily. This may be a challenge, especially if you are not happy with your current job. A way to ease the challenge is to view your employer as your client. Get into the practice of delivering more than your employer expects. For instance, you may finish your work ahead of schedule and under budget.
You never know, you next boss may be watching you. Not to mention, your work ethic reflects your character. So, the next time you are asked to deliver a project, be passionate about it and put all your efforts into it.
Look the Part
Do you need to refresh your professional image? Do you look like you could fit in the senior suite? Research has shown that your dress can affect the way you feel. In addition to your appearance, executive presence is essential.
Do you carry yourself as a leader? Can others see a leader in you?
What does a leader look like at your company? How do the leaders at your company carry themselves? Find out.
A Word of Caution
There is a difference between excellence and perfection. Remember that excellence is a balance between training and habit. Perfection is flawless completion.
Although it’s good to be the best we can possibly be, we must avoid an unhealthy pursuit of perfection to the point that we take no action for fear of failing. Inaction is the enemy of excellence. Failure is a teacher and is a part of excellence. Failing gives you direction. You’ll know what not to do the next time you try. Just give it your best.
If you want to excel in your life, start by putting forth your best effort. If you do this consistently, you will elude a sense of excellence within and around you. Others will sense this and will see you in a different light.
Aristotle (350 B.C.). Nicoachean Ethics. Trans. W.D. Ross 1908. Oxford: Claredon Press.
Durant, W. (1961/1926). The Story of Philosophy. p. 98. New York: Simon & Schuster.
DO IT NOW:
1.) List the areas of your life that you need to improve. List why you need to improve.
2.) Review your list and choose one area that is most pressing.
3.) Create an “improvement plan”. Write down the specific steps to achieve your improvement goal? Think of what you need to improve. Do you need to learn something new? A new way of thinking? Do you need help? Make sure you create a deadline.
4.) Review your list weekly (Pick a day to review) to keep you on track. Make sure you place a check next to each completed step to your plan.
5.) As you improve one area, restart the process with a new area.
If you keep this up, you will be on your road to your excellence.