Several years ago, I was working on a video project which would be educational and impactful for children. While sharing this with one of my mentors (Norm Hewitt) many years ago, he made the comment, “Whatever you do, make sure you do it with excellence.” If it’s low-budget, tacky, or poorly done, people will not pay any attention to it. I took it to heart and prolonged the project for two more years to get all my ducks in order and do it right. Looking back now, I am glad for the wait because the project was done with excellence. I believe what you’re doing today is always preparing you for what you’re going to do tomorrow. That advice years ago always replays in my head when I’m starting a new project or setting a new goal.
When you’re at work, do you do things to “just get by”? Do you hurry up so you can just get home? Sloppy work, hurried work, or mindless work will not bring you any excellence. My father worked for NASA in the 70’s as an aeronautic engineer. As a child, I remember him being called in the night as thousands of employees were scrambling to remedy the error that had been made prior to the Apollo 13 space launch, a scene best depicted in Ron Howard’s movie. Errors can happen in health care, pharmacies, air flights, food production companies, or any other realm of enterprise.“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work!” - Thomas J.
Below I’ve listed four thoughts on pushing ourselves to the next level to reach excellence:1. Hang around people who are excellent in their field. Learn from them, get tips and insights, and best of all, ask them lots of questions. Don’t do things alone. In his book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, John Maxwell writes about the Law of Significance: “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” You cannot do anything of real value alone.2. Slow down. Sometimes taking ten seconds to think about what you’ve just done or what you’re about to do will up-level your game.3. Focus. Don’t get “shiny object syndrome,” which I’ve experienced myself when involved with a project. Stay on task! Don’t get distracted.4. Strive to be the Best of the Best. Another mentor, Roddy Galbraith, was critiquing one of my keynote speeches which I thought was pretty good. He said it was good, but it wasn’t the best I could do. He said, “Think about striving to be the best of the best.”Today, push yourself to higher ground and be excellent in everything you set your hand to do. “The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but on the excellence of the work he produces.” - Thomas Aquinas