“Always deliver excellence.” (Part 2 of a 5-part series on living a remarkable life. Click here to read part 1)
In my last post, we discussed the importance of the phrase, “Mediocrity is unacceptable” to those wanting to live remarkable lives. And once mediocrity is set aside, excellence must become the standard.
The problem in trying to deliver excellence, is that excellence has a relative quality to it. Something that may be excellent to you, may or may not be excellent to someone else. You may look at one painting and call it excellent while I may scoff. On the other hand, I might call a ninth inning at-bat in the playoffs, excellent, while you may deem it overgrown boys playing a game (and in this case, we might both be right!).
But excellence must be defined if we are going to deliver in our quest to live remarkably. Despite its elusive nature, and somewhat relative context, there are some basic tenets to creating excellence in our lives. As I have reflected over products, projects and relationships in my life, I think excellence is a by-product of these five qualities:
- Excellence is a by-product of effort: Excellence doesn’t happen on its own, and isn’t a product of being ‘natural’ at it. Excellence is achieved through hard work. But hard work, by itself, isn’t enough -- you can work hard to produce something of poor quality. Hard work, in the right way for the right reason, is an essential ingredient in excellence. If you’re not willing to work hard, you won’t, you can’t, achieve it. And keep in mind that effort must become a daily habit, not merely last minute frantic activity.
- Excellence is a by-product of ruthlessly eliminating mediocrity: Mediocrity cannot be an acceptable result of your effort, or the work of your company or organization. Mediocrity and excellence are mutually exclusive: when you settle or pursue the one, you immediately eliminate the other. Check out part 1 of this series for more information on getting rid of mediocrity.
- Excellence is a by-product of passion: Passion is the component of excellence that shows itself, even when no one else is looking. When you care, when you are consumed by what you are working on, the barriers become opportunities and obstacles become invigorating challenges to be conquered. When asked about how he created his famous angel sculpture, Michelangelo responded, "I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free." Passion is the fuel of excellence.
- Excellence is a by-product of collaboration: While no one will care about your work, your creation or your family as much as you will, excellence can only be achieved when the efforts, passions and skills of others are harnessed in cooperation. Finding like-minded people to support, improve and increase your efforts is crucial in the pursuit of excellence.
- Excellence is a by-product of finishing: Too many ventures, books, businesses, jobs, marriages and products fall by the wayside because people don’t finish. Excellence is hard, but worth the effort. Don’t give up when chasing your dreams and goals, finish them completely.
There you have it, my five thoughts about excellence. As you try to live the Overboard life, what would you add to this list?
So far we’ve talked about two key phrases to a remarkable life:
- Mediocrity is unacceptable
- Always deliver excellence
Stay tuned for the remaining three phrases.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!