Monday, January 10, 2011

Mastering Excellence

Being in the midst of the NFL playoffs reminds me of the importance of excellence, and the mastery of excellence. Achieving success in sports, as well as life and business is all about mastering excellence. Excellence is not just about skills, or talent, or even execution. It’s also about having the right attitude, specifically commitment, confidence and persistence.

Vince Lombardi, the Brooklyn-born legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers, and the person for whom the NFL Super Bowl trophy is named after, said this: “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field or endeavor.”

So the question becomes, no matter what your chosen field or endeavor, how do you master excellence? Ask any genuine leader how they achieved exceptional success, and they will agree to the following three ingredients for excellence:

1. Taking the Right Attitude.
The right attitude is a decision you need to make every day. Your attitude not only affects you, but it affects the people around you. There are two ways you can look at virtually everything in your life. A pessimist focuses on the difficulty in the opportunity, and the optimist focuses on the opportunity in difficulty. Frederick Langbridge reinforces the different views of an optimist and a pessimist in the following quote, “Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.”

Your attitude affects your body language and your behavior. People who are optimists come across as strong, confident and motivated. People who are pessimistic appear weak, or unwilling, and they often do not appear to have their "act together". A positive attitude creates self motivation, and that motivation is very contagious. It helps build your leadership capital with those around you. Having a strong positive attitude reinforces your capability to  face any challenge and create the right outcome for yourself. Your attitude is a direct factor in your ability to master excellence in whatever you choose to pursue. And here is something all leaders know: Only one person is in charge of your attitude, and that’s you.

2. Being Goal Oriented.
Know what you want, why you want it, and define how to achieve it. Defining personal and professional goals will create a road map for your success. It is not enough to have a dream. In order to bring dreams to reality you must have goals with defined action steps. Action is what makes things happen and being goal oriented is an empowering process. As you achieve things from your list, you get that great feeling of accomplishment, and that starts to build a powerful momentum. That momentum adds to your motivation and attitude and to your capabilities.

3. Attention to Details.
Attention to detail is critical to mastering excellence and it will make you stand out in comparison to others (remember that you are always being compared to your peers). Attention to detail means nothing goes unnoticed. It means you do nothing less than 100 percent. It means paying attention to how you dress, how you behave, how you communicate, how you carry yourself, how you take care of your surroundings, how quickly and efficiently you follow up, and how you treat others. This is how leaders emerge from the rest of the group and how business owners separate themselves from the competition.

You have the ability to be excellent at whatever you pursue or endeavor, and being excellent is a choice that is completely within your control. Decide today to raise your level of success by taking the right attitude, by being goal oriented, and by paying attention to every detail. Excellence and success go hand in hand.


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