“IT is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.” [Isaac Disraeli].
The way you present yourself as a company or as an individual can either create or destroy opportunities. You can do a lot of work in marketing yourself and your brand, but if you do not augment whatever you claim to stand for with excellence, you will find yourself again at the drawing board. Excellence is the ability to surpass the norm or ordinary standards.
There is an ordinary way of doings, but when you harness the standard of excellence, you do things in an extraordinary way. Do not just desire to succeed, desire to excel in whatever you will be doing. Excellence is an attribute that will distinguish you from the rest. In fact, it distinguishes leaders from followers.
You need to desire to raise your standards as an individual or as an organisation. The standards that you operate with determine the type of clients you attract, and the type of money you make as well. There is no one who is attracted to companies that appear to have a patent or copyright over mediocrity, neither is there any employer who wants to be associated with employees who are just concerned about rendering service without paying heed to the manner in which the service is being rendered.
Clients always deserve the best when you are dealing with them. Break the cycle of mediocrity in your life and replace it with a standard of excellence. The starting point in creating excellent organisations is in creating excellent individuals.
Excellence is a decision
We are a product of the decisions that we make. You can choose to live a life of excellence or a life of mediocrity. Discipline yourself to surpass mediocrity and do things differently. It has often been said that you can take a donkey to the river but you cannot force it to drink water. You can get all the motivation and literature on excellence, all but if you do not make a decision to practice excellence, you will always be in the same position.
Desire and have the drive to improve yourself. Always look for opportunities to improve yourself, your service delivery, your deportment and so on. If you do not choose a life of excellence, no one will do that for you. “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” [Vince Lombardi]
You do not become excellent in your service by having the word, “excellence” as one of your core values and written all over the place. You practice and live it. Wishing does not take you anywhere, but action does. What you practice daily becomes a part of you. Your life will not change in a day, but it will be changed by what you do daily. Condition yourself to doing things differently daily.
Those who negate excellence will depend on those who uphold it. You want to be a leader in your field, practice excellence. You want to stand out in your studies, practice excellence. The Greeks recognised the concept of excellence.
It was covered by what they called “arête” which meant an outstanding fitness for purpose. It was premised on the realization that excellence has roots in practice. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” [Aristotle]
Size does not matter
No task is too small for excellence. Your touch of distinction should be visible where ever you touch. The manner you treat your clients, deal with your family, write your assignments, write your letters, and, make your presentations should exhibit excellence. Your faithfulness in serving where you are, will determine the faithfulness you will serve with in positions of higher and better responsibility.
If you want excellence in your own business, practice excellence whilst conducting business for other people. Lewis Latimer (I once discussed him in detail in one of my articles) , one of the leading black inventors in history rose from being an office cleaner, to becoming a serious draftsperson in America during a period of intense racism.
His formula was to practice excellence in everything he did. He impressed his employers and they had to elevate him from being just a cleaner to a draftsperson. “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” [Charles R. Swindoll]
Excellence from the inside out
People have been so much accustomed to working their lives from the outside in. This does not take you far. Work your life from the inside out. What is on the outside should be a reflection of what is in the inside.
Excellence should therefore come from within. It should be a part of you, a lifestyle, and an “addiction”. Demonstrate organisation in the way that you handle your personal life and your business. “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal, a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek. “ [Mario Andretti]
opportunities for you
No one is attracted to mediocrity. Everyone wants things that have a touch of excellence and that reflect that someone really applied their mind to what they were doing. I had the opportunity of witnessing this principle via television. Many people will recall what happened to Alick Macheso at the Defence Forces commemoration day some years ago.
A sterling performance did not only result in ululation and standing ovations from the crowd, it attracted a personal invitation of Macheso to the VIP stand by the Head of State and Government, President Robert Mugabe.
Macheso himself admitted that this was a rare honour. In an interview with the press Macheso said: “I am honoured to shake hands with the President. I used to hear of him when I started my career as a musician. I never dreamt of meeting him, let alone shaking hands with him. Today (Tuesday) is my greatest day. I am very humbled.”
Never take for granted anything that you might be doing, you never know where your answer will come from or how your dream will be fulfilled. You do not know who will come into contact with your work.
Sometimes you business simply needs one person who will say, “Where can I find this company? I like the quality of their work … I like the way they do their things.” Your breakthrough in life is a smile away from you. Never take for granted any opportunity that comes your way. Serve like it’s your last day, work like you are getting the best salary on earth.
Never be afraid to sacrifice
Do more than what you are being paid to do. We go up by giving up certain things. It might mean knocking off an hour later when everyone has knocked off. It might also mean a little bit more of generosity, and patience. Be prepared to do more than what your contemporaries are prepared to do. Excellence is the price that is paid for greatness. Greatness is responsibility. Mark Twain puts the concept of sacrifice in an interesting way, “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching.”
Let your work speak for you
Do not tell people about what you can do, just do it. Your work speaks volumes about who you are. It has often been said that a painting speaks a thousand words about the person who painted it. What does your work speak about you? How many people are you going to attract by the way you do your things? If service delivery was food, how many people would want to eat yours? How tasty is your delivery? People should know of your work even before they know you personally.
The success of your organisation is dependent on its success to serve with commitment and excellence. “The companies that survive longest are the ones that work out what they uniquely can give to the world not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy.” [Charles Handy]
Make a date with me every first of the month Wednesday on Star FM with Tariro and Iyati from 09:40am — 10:00am for some Moments of Inspiration.
Arthur Marara is an aattorney, author and motivational speaker. He is also the author of “Personal Development Toolkit”, “Keys to Effective Time Management”, “The Power within” and “Keys to Financial Freedom”. To receive his Daily Inspiration” on WhatsApp send your number as a contact to +263 772 467 255