Striving for Excellence

Peter Edwards

"We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal."

Nobody strives for mediocrity. Yet some of us end up there. We start with a desire and hunger to excel. We want to be excellent; we want to be the best we can be, but something happens! We get distracted or side-tracked by something more comfortable to achieve – being average!

Being average is more accessible; it takes considerably less effort, less focus, and less learning.

When we are not clear on what we are trying to achieve, we will default to average. Why? Because it’s easy! We are designed to find the path of least resistance, and when we do it enough, it becomes a cognitive habit, an automatic default setting.

We fall back into what takes the least effort, the least focus, the least learning. Whereas achieving excellence takes commitment, energy and focus. To clarify, striving for excellence is not about perfection. Perfection is futile and can never be achieved.

Striving for excellence is an approach and attitude; it is a mindset, a desire to be your best! It is an eternal desire that keeps driving our performance and influencing our results. It is a journey, a journey of continuous learning and improvement; wanting to be the best we can be and maximise our potential.

Excellence: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

We know excellence when we see it! Whether it is in sports or business, excellence stands out! We recognise it in individuals by what we see them doing; they stand out from the pack!

They excel at what they do through their actions, behaviours and attitude. They think and act differently! They have separated themselves from the average.

Consider ex NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Kobe had that eternal desire to be the best. In a world of gifted athletes, he stood out and excelled! He was famous for the amount of effort he would put into improving his skills, his unwavering focus and his desire to keep learning and honing his craft.

"We can always kind of be average and do what's normal. I'm not in this to do what's normal."

Kobe Bryant

How do we get back on track? How do we strive for excellence? Let’s look at five key areas; Clarity, Competence, Commitment, Consistency and Courage.

Clarity

We need to know what we are striving to achieve. We need to be clear on our goals and targets. We know what good looks like, even better than that we know what excellent looks like.

We look to systemise our actions and behaviour through the disciplined use of processes. We are clear on our performance standards; they are not aspirations they are expectations.

"It's a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal."

Steve Maraboli

Competence

We know that learning drives performance and performance drives results. We understand that the more we know about a topic, the more we realise we don’t know! We build our skills and knowledge through learning from others – the more we know, the more we can do!

"The foundation of lasting self-confidence and self-esteem is excellence, mastery of your work"

Brian Tracy

Commitment

We understand that if we are to strive for excellence, we need to be dedicated – we need to be committed, we need to have grit.

We need to be focused on the journey and not get tempted and distracted by the path of least resistance. We need to be committed to working hard, being focused and continuous improvement.

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour."

Vince Lombardi

Consistency

Excellence isn’t something we do now and then.

We can’t be excellent at something we do most of the time. We have to be disciplined and consistent, focused on delivering on our standards of performance every time. Knowing we will make mistakes and not get it right every time.

But, we acknowledge our slip-ups and see it for what it is and commit to getting back on track. Consistent performance leads to consistent results.

"Accuracy, accuracy, precision in execution of everything at all levels. No sloppiness. Game-level focus was the price of admission. Obviously,"

Bill Walsh

Courage

Striving for excellence takes courage!

We must have the willingness to have a go and see what we are capable of achieving.

Mediocrity settles. Excellence doesn’t! We must have the fearlessness to put our ego aside, to find out what we don’t know and what we still have to learn.

We must have the courage to seek feedback from our peers, asking how we can improve.

"Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."

John Wooden

Here is a challenge! Look for excellence this week. Whether it is in sport, business, music, art or where ever your observations take you. What do you see and what can you learn? What can you apply to your area of interest?

Can you start or restart your striving for excellence journey today?

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."

Confucius

Peter Edwards

Learning & Development Manager at Rexel Australia

Peter is the National L&D Manager for Rexel Australia and has been in this role since August of 2007. Peter lives in Brisbane with his wife, Jean and his three children. To complement his comprehensive L&D experience, he has over thirty years’ experience in sales and leadership roles within the electrical wholesaling industry. In his spare time, Peter also provides business coaching and consultation to a select number of clients.

He loves learning and wants to generate this same enthusiasm in others. He is an enthusiastic learner who is continually seeking to develop and improve his professional skills and knowledge in his chosen career. He is consistently researching the latest theories in the area of business, learning, psychology, communication, coaching, sales and leadership to keep ahead of the latest trends and applications. He has a passion for facilitating individuals learning to help enrich their current performance and to unlock their potential. His career purpose is to inspire individuals to possess a personal passion for learning that motivates them to take control of their careers and develop the skills to ‘learn by design and not by default’.

‘Learning improves performance, and improved performance improves results’.

Original post on LinkedIn for more information on Peter Edwards you can visit and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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