Excellence Over Success
Success means a lot of different things to people. To some it’s money and status, to others it’s happiness and contentment. Winning seems like a clear indication of success, yet anyone that has ever competed knows the feeling of playing down to the level of competition - and it doesn’t feel like success.
It’s interesting that something as seemingly definite as success varies in definition. But, the reason shouldn’t surprise us. Success gauges itself by comparison. We are successful, or not successful, in relation to those around us. This comparison is the reason behind the varying definitions of success. We only need to be ‘better than’ the next person in order to be successful. Sometimes that takes our best effort, sometimes it doesn’t.
Excellence, on the other hand, is consistent.
Why Should We Care?
Excellence requires your best. That’s it. Every. Time.
The problem is, you can’t measure it with a scoreboard or a bank account. Excellence doesn’t work like that. While success is often an external event, excellence remains an internal experience. You are the only one that truly knows if your effort, preparation, and performance were your very best.
So, most people become content accepting success instead of chasing excellence. Why? Because it’s easier. It doesn’t require the self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-assessment that excellence does. Pursuing excellence will leave you feeling incompetent and incapable, but it will also leave you with truth. You will know who you are. And when you do touch excellence, you’ll understand why you’re willing to endure all the struggles to pursue it.
Success, on the other hand, is a liar. You can’t trust it. It will tell you that you’re not enough when you are inches from excellence and it will fool you with praise and glory when you are nowhere near your potential.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
The question is how do you pursue excellence and not success? Here are a few action items that will get you started down the path to excellence
Excellence over success - a seemingly easy choice, but one very few people consciously make. You have the choice too. Choose process over results. Choose internal satisfaction over external recognition.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.