The Case for Excellence

The case for excellence.

To be exceptionally good in someway or at something. To go above and beyond, of high quality, outstanding customer service. These are just a few of the many definitions of excellence.

The Trader Joe’s where I do my weekly grocery shopping is a great example of a store that usually goes above and beyond. The store representatives are all very friendly and have a great attitude. When I can’t find an item, the store representative I ask for assistance usually walks with me to show me exactly where it is. If the item isn’t on the shelf, he/she goes to check in the stock room in the back. If for whatever reason the item has been out of stock for a few days, they will then check their computer system to let me know when it will be back in stock. Oh! they do all of this with a nice attitude. Not with a “ you are disturbing me, can’t you see I’m busy? If it’s not there, it means we are out of it …duh!” kind of attitude. That’s EXCELLENCE (outstanding customer service), going above and beyond.

Excellence is not perfection. Why? well perfection is relative and can be compared to chasing the wind. It is just not attainable. Choosing to be your best (excellent) every morning when you wake up is more of an achievable goal.

Mediocrity, the antithesis of excellence is showing up to work and executing your daily duties with a sour attitude and just doing the barest minimum required. Mediocrity is dangerous because it will rob you of greatness. Here is why –  “How we do a thing is how we do most things. That lackadaisical attitude will permeate and eat away at other areas of your life if not checked. The end result will be living a sub par discontent and unhappy life.

Excellence is so paramount to success in any area of life that it needs no introduction or justification. However, allow me to highlight with a few  points the significance of excellence and why excellence should be at the forefront of all you do.

1 –You become better and we all become better when YOU choose Excellence  – If we all make it our daily goal to become rise above mediocrity and become better at what we do, collectively that will make for a better society overall and make us better humans. We (the individuals that make up the society) all benefit from excellence. Going the extra mile at work, showing up to work daily with a grateful attitude that you are able to and healthy enough to work, and that you have a job (just ask an unemployed person who lives in a country like Zimbabwe where the unemployment rate is over 90%) are just a few examples of choosing excellence as it relates your career. Carrying out your work duties as though it’s your own organization and not just doing the bare minimum for your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. That collective effort will transform the organization and our society for the better.

2 – Excellence attracts excellence – Why is this so? because Like attracts Like. Ever since I embarked on this journey and lifestyle of giving my best and working on being the best I can be in every area of my life, I really have been amazed by the outstanding results and the caliber of people I attract.

As you know like attracts like, if you want better people in your life, you must work on being a better person yourself. – Anonymous

3 Excellence is transformational – Choosing excellence changes your mindset for the better. Choosing to become a person of excellence permeates every area of your life. You cannot be a person of excellence and not have it affect all areas of your life. Individuals committed to a life of excellence find that they overtime excel at life. Their finances, relationships, health all start to reflect excellence in no time. This does not just happen by accident. They deliberately chose to make excellence their way of life and they inevitably seek out ways to improve different areas of their lives. Such individuals once they realize they need help in an area are proactive about getting the help they need. They don’t make excuses or shy away from the required hard work. They do what is needed. They seek out the help of a specialist (coach, therapist), read books, listen to podcasts, you name it. They do the work required to be better in that area

4 – Excellence and Integrity go hand in hand. A person of Excellence is usually a person of Integrity – C.S Lewis describes Integrity as doing the right thing when no one is watching. Does this not sound like a person of Excellence to you?  When you choose to pursue a lifestyle of excellence, integrity inevitably follows. Doing the right thing irrespective of who is looking or not overtime becomes second nature.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

A story from 1 Samuel 16 14-23 depicts a life of excellence so well:

In this passage we find the King of Israel – King Saul suffering from an awful tormenting depression. His attendants suggested he gave them the go ahead to look for someone very skilled at playing the harp who would play to soothe and calm the tormented and depressed king.

King Saul gave the order and immediately one of his attendants recommended David. He not only recommended him but went down David’s resume as he described him to the King, 1 Sam 16:18

  • He is an excellent musician
  • He is a brave man and warrior
  • He speaks well and is a fine-looking man
  •  .. and the Lord is with him

We were not given this attendant’s name or told of how he knew David. In my mind, I picture this senior government official having to pass by where David the shepherd boy watched over his father’s flock of sheep daily. Unknown to David, he was being watched and this official passed by David enough times to know the caliber of person he was. Or maybe they were neighbors or family acquaintances, we do not know. What we know is that this man knew David well enough to know David as a person of Excellence and Integrity.  When the opportunity presented itself. He did not hesitate to recommend and bring David before the king.

I love this story because there are so many practical life lessons to be gained from it. David who later became the most powerful and most popular king of Israel took time to hone his skills and develop himself when he was considered a nobody. His role at the time was shepherd boy and he executed in that role very well. If you study the story of David, you will learn about how he rescued his father’s sheep time and time again from wolves, fought off lions, just to name a few of his exploits. It was during this time that he honed his skills as a brave man and warrior. He also learned to play the harp beautifully because he worshipped his God with the harp and psalms.  He did all of this even before he knew he was going to be anointed King of Israel. He was not sitting around wasting time, blaming others, making excuses or being lazy.

David was a man of excellence. No wonder God saw it fit to anoint him as King. It is no surprise that when he eventually took over the throne, he ruled well. He was not perfect. His wins and failures are very well documented. But he was a good and Excellent King.

Excellence is a matter of the heart. You have to be intentional about becoming a person of excellence. An organization does not just become one of excellence by chance. Its actions must reflect excellence every step of the way. The pursuit of excellence is a life long pursuit. One must choose excellence daily until it becomes a habit.

Shopping cart


No products in the cart.