The idea of acting with excellence seems to be one of those impossible feats, along with “go forward – do more – believe in yourself.” Such intangibles are without an end and impossible to quantify. When I considered, to myself, how I might be excellent, I realized that this is NOT an intangible, and that there are certain things that I can do in order to be excellent.
The first thing I needed to do was to define excellence. According to Dictionary.com, excellence is “the fact or state of excelling; superiority; eminence: his excellence in mathematics.” In turn, the definition for excel is “to surpass others or be superior in some respect or area; do extremely” or “to surpass; be superior to; outdo: He excels all other poets of his day.” So, in order to be excellent, I must surpass others or be superior in some respect or area. It does not say that in order to be excellent, I must be someone else’s definition of excellent. It does not say, specifically what I have to be excellent at.
So, I could be an excellent thinker, or an excellent strategist. If so, I need to focus my energies on continuing to develop myself as a strategist, and have very specific ways of doing this.
So, the problem, so to speak, is that in being true to yourself, you must not frame excellence in terms of other people, but rather, in terms of yourself and your purpose. Additionally, you shouldn’t frame excellence in terms of what is, but rather, in terms of what could be. In other words, if you were on a train going to some specific destination, you would want to frame your plans, actions and activities based on that destination rather than based on the trip, itself. The trip is not the destination. It is the means to the end. You would pack, for example, for what you are going to do when you arrive at the destination rather than for what you are going to do on the trip.
The other part of the equation is “Being.” It seems that with all of our looking out for the Jones’, and the (un)healthy spirit of competition we are fully engaged in, we’ve lost track of being, and lost ourselves to any number of business belief systems that we felt were going to help us be better than the next person. However, each of us has our own individual purpose and therefore, carte blanche application of certain tactics is not necessarily going to help us excel at being. Learning about ourselves and honestly being ourselves is what allows us to be. While conversations about being are not as shallow as this, this is the beginning of learning how to excel. However, consider it like this: how many people do certain things simply out of tradition rather than pursuing the things that truly help them further refine and excel in their purpose?
If we observe animals, we can see, clearly, what it is to excel. A cheetah, for example, excels at running. A fish excels at swimming. Falcons excel at flying and hunting. Each understands its being and focuses its energies on being. They use their areas of excellence to fulfil their individual purposes.
My purpose in life is to help people be the best they can be. In order for me to excel at this, I need to be able to bring all of myself – my being – into the workplace. When I say this, I am not referring to emotional baggage and environmental concerns, but rather, the best of what makes me who I am. In my case this is a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, creative visioning and continual progress. I don’t compare what I do to what others do. My perspective is unique to me. For me to excel in these areas, I must continue to refine and develop my areas of expertise. This does not mean that I need to go out and master Six Sigma or other organizational or management techniques, but rather to observe and learn from these techniques.
At the same time, knowing who I am, and Being – bringing my full self to what I do, I can focus on the types of clients that I work best with – those who are creative and logical, who work to achieve excellence in what they do while serving the communities they touch. Rather than marketing, these people strive to make themselves available. Instead of focusing on competing, these people focus on serving their clients, who, in turn, tend to bring more business.
So, in order to excel, you must understand two things: who you are and why you exist. Knowing who you are will allow you to define and exploit your gifts, talents and abilities in the right environment to serve the right people. Knowing why you exist will help you focus your gifts, talents and abilities to work toward a specific vision. Once these are clear to you, learning how to be excellent is simply a matter of bringing all that you are to the table, without excuse, each day.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].