To apply personal excellence is to excel in whatever you do. To excel actually means to have improved, done better than before or surpassed expectation. Personal excellence is a mindset activity. It is a way of conditioning yourself to achieve. It’s also a way of operating in the world.
Personal excellence doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes practice and training to ensure that your best self is the one that engages with life.
Applying personal excellence takes self-belief and commitment; it also requires you to be present in whatever you are doing, not thinking about what’s next and what’s for tea. Operating in the now, being consumed by what you are doing and giving it your full attention is the best way to achieve a state of personal excellence. You can choose to practise excellence at any time – you don’t have to have all your ducks in a row before you start.
Developing personal excellence requires:
Discipline Discipline is about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, facing the things you find difficult and consistently working towards your dream. For the most part, if you are following your dream, many of your activities will be fun and come from your heart, the very act of doing them inspires you and energises you. Often, the activities that take you forward can also make you feel vulnerable, take you into stretch zones and call into question your direction and commitment. This is where the discipline comes in: remain focused on your specific goal while keeping in touch with the bigger dream, remember the purpose behind your activity and trust yourself to move forward.
Emotional control This is about self-awareness, knowing what takes you off-track, what triggers self-doubt and other unhelpful emotions that keep you from working with excellence.
Attitude Maintaining an attitude of excellence is easier when you stick to your values. Most people in their zone of excellence have a can-do attitude; they take risks that move them toward their goal and they are happy to share their passion for their subject. When you operate from a state of personal excellence, attitudes towards disappointment and negative outcomes are also different. It is much easier to treat these experiences as something to be learned from rather than as major setbacks.
Courage Courage is about acting from your heart and not letting fear dominate your life; it is not about an absence of fear. Courage is about knowing when to face fears and take some action. It ia also about conquering any boundary conditions and inner beliefs that are sabotaging or could sabotage your success. You cannot operate from a state of personal excellence without being courageous.
Calmness Calmness is about grace in the face of adversity. If something doesn’t go to plan, review and learn what needs to be learned from the adversity and then re-plan from a position of calm, not reaction. Calmness is also about being able to manage people – your clients, colleagues and even loved ones – when they don’t support your excellence. Usually, this is about creating strategies to protect yourself from their energy, not banishing them from your life. Maintaining focus on your dream or goal helps you to remain calm.
Practising excellence Excellence only comes with practise. Striving for personal excellence also requires practise and some resilience. To really go for excellence, you need to be the best version of yourself that you can be – and not try to be someone else’s idea of excellence or to live their passion. Here are some steps to practise excellence:
1) Focus on one thing at a time and master it
2) Don’t have failures; have experiences. Learn from them and move on; don’t dwell on it.
3) Excellence is easier to achieve when those around you know what you’re about, what you’re aiming for, so share your dream, ideas and vision with those who matter to you and those who can help you.
4) When sharing and selling your dream, focus on what you can do for others, the power and benefits to people.
5) Accept that perfection does not exist. When you know that you have done your best, move on.
6) Most of all, in the quest for excellence, do only what you can be proud of.
Excerpted from Get out of your own way, by Lynda Holt. Published 2012 by NABO (National Alliance of Business Owners. Used by permission).