Developing Personal Excellence
“With regard to excellence, it’s not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.” Aristotle
Developing excellence doesn’t happen overnight. There are no quick and easy ways to develop excellence in our families, lives or careers. We can’t attend a seminar and as a result magically become excellent. We can’t read a book and have it all figured out in a day. And we can’t just tell ourselves we have excellence and then automatically possess it. Developing excellence takes time; it’s hard work and can take a lifetime to develop.
The word excellence is defined as the quality of excelling, possessing good qualities in high degree. It also means to excel in something. The word excellent means something is very good of its kind, eminently good or first class. In other words, something that is excellent is superior.
Excellence is not perfection. It’s not performing flawlessly or without mistakes. Excellence is a process and developing excellence is a mind-set, a mind-set that says, “I’m working toward excelling at something and I desire to possess good qualities in high degree.” It can also mean that I am striving to be excellent, a mind-set that says, “I want to be very good at what I do. I want my life and work to be superior.”
Developing excellence is a process in which we strive to excel and live a life full of good qualities. Excellence is not a one-time event – it’s a way of life. And to possess anything in high degree or to be first class, we need to practice.
In my own life I haven’t always liked to practice. This is probably the reason I was never good in sports. I always wanted to be good without the practice it took to get good. I wanted results without the work. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. To achieve anything in life we must work at it. We must practice it. And then we become excellent.
I’ve spent many years trying to do things quickly and wanting results fast. When I published my first book, I wrote it quickly, got it published and went out into the marketplace to begin selling it. I didn’t do any research, ask for any feedback or make a plan as to how I would sell it. I just did it.
And while I’m glad I did it, I would do it differently if I had it to do over again. I would have taken more time, asked for feedback and done research on books similar to mine. I would have asked more questions, taken more time to brainstorm and been willing to be critiqued.
Live Without Regret
Being excellent also means living without regret. And even though I would do it differently today, I do not regret publishing my first book. It’s been a huge success and I’m proud of my accomplishment.
I believe developing excellence means we learn from the past and use it to excel in our future endeavors. It’s not about bashing ourselves for past mistakes – that only keeps us from developing excellence. Developing excellence means learning from the past,deciding what worked and what could have worked better, and then applying our learning to future projects.
Some of the things I learned from my first publishing experience can apply to all areas of my life.
- I learned to slow down and think through any project before forging ahead.
- I learned to let go of my need for immediate results.
- I learned to look at the big picture before moving ahead.
- I learned to ask for help and to get feedback from people I trust.
- I learned to research my ideas and the resources available.
One of the neatest things about developing excellence is that we always have another chance – we’re never done. Developing excellence is a work in progress.
I now have an opportunity to apply what I learned from my first book and use the knowledge as I begin writing my second book. I did my homework this time. I asked for feedback, held a focus group and researched my market. I’ve also taken the time to let my ideas come to life and to really think about the focus of my book, its audience and the results I desire through this publishing effort.
It feels good to be able to put into practice some new ways of developing excellence. I know my business will never be perfect but I’m committed to continually developing excellence in business and in my personal life.
And as you take steps to further create excellence in you life, remember to practice, live without regret and take full advantage of second chances.