When I think about committing to excellence, it brings up many emotions and feelings and old beliefs stir. I was pressured a lot to be excellent, a word which to me meant being perfect. I never seemed to measure up to the scale that was held before me, and it made for a very insecure little girl.
The striving for excellence can mean that we are competitive and always comparing ourselves to others. It did for me. I couldn’t do anything as well as others. As an actor, I worked on my skills, always falling a little short of what I thought I should be. That is the way I walked into many auditions. It made for a very nervous woman entering the audition room. In retrospect, I know it was fear of being judged.
Yes, excellence can be a confusing term and can become a discouraging lifestyle when used in a competitive way. Dewitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer wrote, “We have a culture obsessed with being best in the world rather than being best for the world.”
Mr. Jones gives me something I can work with. Excellence isn’t about being the best, it is about finding out how you can best (as yourself with all your talents) serve the world. We have such specialized gifts that can never be compared or scaled. We are the best at what it is we are meant to do.
I believe being excellent means more to me now than ever. I come from an Energy that is unlimited. “The sky isn’t the limit;” wrote, Celestine Chua, in her Personal Excellence Blog, “…we are the limit. Whatever we do or don’t do will determine how much we can grow or achieve.”
I can be as excellent as I choose, and it is a choice and a decision. What do I want to be excellent in? These are just some of my excellence goals:
• Excellence in my ability to follow my intuition
• Excellence in my ability to be compassionate and understanding
• Excellence in my ability to listen others and to my highest self
• Excellence in my quest to love and cherish myself and to live more and more authentically every day.
This is a lifelong journey. I can never get discouraged because it isn’t about whether I ever achieve it. It is about what happens to me along the way. I said this about going to college. It wasn’t about what I learned there in the way of facts or skills or how excellent I was at them; it was about how I navigated the learning process. Those were the accomplishments I brought out from behind the college walls, and it wasn’t until I applied those skills that I learned how to use them.
Becoming excellent is an experience that we can live.
I am getting ready to present the tales of my life in a dramatic musical format as a benefit for our Center. I chose to do this not because it is easy, not because I think I’m the best actor/singer in the world, but because I want to be more authentic. I want to challenge myself to take myself to the next level of living authentically. I want to inspire others to let out their authentic selves out. I want to live as Patrick puts it, “Ferociously.”
I don’t want to hold back any more. I think the world is in great need of those of us who live ferocious love, a ferocious commitment to be our best selves and a ferociously giving life in service to others. Really it is always about service.
Being committed to excellence is about being real. It is about letting mediocrity fade away and instead committing to live as unlimited Spirit in everything we do. It is about believing in something and getting behind what we say we believe. It is about being able to spend each moment we are awake so alive, that when we lay down to sleep at night we can say “Day excellently done. I did my best even when my best wasn’t good enough. I don’t care how others judge me or don’t judge me. I am living authentically, truthfully and from the Spirit. I changed my own life in some way today and I must have changed at least another life by being me. It trust this.” We are all energy living in one mind, one field, we can’t help but be an influence for good when we are living our authentic self.
Aristotle defined it this way. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. …We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
If excellence is a habit and if we are striving to live spiritual principles in order to serve the world, then we better work on those principles and bring them into our lives until they are a habit.
Aristotle further wrote, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
And from Theodore Wilhelm Engstrom, “Excellence is a process that should occupy all our days.” Harriet Tubman wrote, “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
So, it is about action, determination, choice. It is a process.
If we want to say we believe something and we cannot act upon it, then we do not really believe it. There is no limit to what we can do or be. But in order to find out what that is, we have to make a start right from where we are.
We each truly know what is our excellence path. It is our heart’s song and it cannot be denied. If we follow its music, we cannot be anything but excellent.
Love and Aloha,