Image via WikipediaBy Robert Choat
I often wondered why so many people that seek to be perfect often end up not doing anything at all.
Perfection leads to procrastination. That's because, who can really be perfect? Excellence, on the other hand, anyone can do. Each person will have his or her standards of excellence. When you give something your best effort, then you are driving towards excellence. And remember this; excellence is about continuous improvement, not perfection.
I remember watching the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY and the Men's Ice Hockey match between the Mighty Soviets and the United States youngsters. Each team was fully engaged in the match and the winner went to the gold medal game.
There were mistakes made on both sides. When the famous Soviet goalie, Vladislav Tretiak, was pulled by the Soviet coach, after allowing two goals in the 1st period, it showed the focus was on perfection....not excellence. Again, mistakes happen.
While the USA coach, Herb Brooks, tended to be a perfectionist - the reality was he focused on excellence from his team. That came through by ever progressing challenges. So it was no wonder that despite in every game the US team had to come from behind in those Winter Games, they managed to keep focused on excellence and win. And all the way to the gold medal.
So what are the 5 pillars of human excellence? Well, here they are.
1. As I mentioned, one of the reasons that the 1980 USA Men's Olympic Hockey team was the gold medal was focus. Focus is the first pillar of human excellence. It's also one the main reasons why so many people today lack excellence in their lives. The lack of focus. And truth be told, we all have. I know that it's happened to me more often than not. This led to procrastination. It becomes much easier to stay focused when what you are focused on is aligned with your purpose and passion. It's also true when you add your personal beliefs and values to the mix.
2. The second pillar of human excellence is that of continuous improvement. It has been said that those that never improve will actually progress backwards. We see this with many people who graduate from college. Falsely believing that they have learned everything once they graduate. The truth is it's only a foundation to true learning. Excellence comes from growth and growth comes from continued challenges. NLP co-founder, John Grinder, described it as pushing past one's boundaries or walls.
3. The third pillar of excellence is that of resilience. The late Coach John Wooden described it this way, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." This is especially true of the person of excellence. Toughness through the hardest times and being able to bounce back from every failure is important.
4. The fourth pillar of excellence is that of confidence. Having confidence is important in that doing so will enable you to have the belief to take the necessary actions necessary in every endeavor. Believing that you can do will result in your doing it. That includes staying focused on your purpose and mission. And being able to instill the sense of excellence in others.
5. The fifth pillar of excellence is that of health and fitness. Without health and fitness, you won't have the stamina to be at your best self. Excellence requires this. Eating the right foods and nutrition will result in better thinking and the physical endurance for the other pillars of excellence. Physical fitness is important in making sure you have good blood flow for your brain as well as having a fully-functioning body. Sleep is also a key in health. Make sure you get plenty of it. Usually 7-8 hours per day.
The 1980 United States Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team had all aspects of excellence. They were focused, continued to improve, showed resilience despite being down in every game, had confidence they could succeed and were physically fit as well as healthy to withstand the training and had endurance in each game.
You too, can develop excellence that fits you. Again, it is not about perfection. It's about giving your best effort towards what you want excellence in.
Excellence in not something that you can buy, you must earn it. It is not given to you. And it's not something that you have forever once you get it. By following the 5 pillars you will stay in excellence. It is a lifelong process.
I wish you the best in giving whatever you do your best effort. Be a person of excellence.
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Bob Choat works as a Peak Performance Coach & Trainer and is focused on people in every industry reach a higher level in their lives.
Call 818-620-2494 for coaching/training
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