Since this is my first official podcast and launch I thought that it would be apropos and helpful for you, to really get to the core of excellence – why I choose excellence, what is it, how does excellence affect you – and what is the road to excellence podcast.
So let’s get to it – for me, one of my heroes is Vince Lombardi. He is who the Super Bowl trophy is named after – that big shiny award football players, coaches and owners hoist over their head after they win – that’s the Lombardi trophy. His team was the first team to win Super Bowl One – he went on to win 5 total super bowl championships for the Green Bay Packers. He is known for many things he said, but one of my absolute favorites is – “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
I grew up at the oldest of two girls in a small town in Kentucky and no matter whether you’re male or female, your birth order does have an impact on how you live out your life, how you grow up. If you’re not familiar with this, I highly encourage you to google it and research it for yourself. It’s really fascinating. So, for those of us that are the eldest child, performance is pretty important to us – mostly because studies show, it’s expected of us by our parents. We kind of set the bar for what everybody else is supposed to live by. Our parents are also stricter with the older sibling – all-in-all – that’s a pretty daunting position to have to live up to. Does this give you some insight into WHY excellence is important to me?? It’s challenging for us big kids, so therefore excellence is a constant challenge; it’s about doing therefore excellence is about doing; it’s about being your best – excellence then is about being your best. It’s not about perfection. For first-borns, that a huge relief!! Most people these days, know that perfection is an illusion but there so many people that with the thousands of media messages that we are bombarded with every day – they are constantly perplexed and troubled burdened with the messages that are being put out there by the media – as if that’s a bar, a level with which were supposed to attain or live up to. With excellence as your bar, here’s the great news – Excellence is determined by your own instinctual goodness – I call it excellence DNA. But, I’ll leave that talk to another podcast episode where we can get into much more detail.
Excellence according to Webster dictionary definition is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. So clearly that is attainable – that’s not an illusion. Try to understand at the core of who you are what excellence means to you – what you will allow and what you won’t allow to be OK for you and your life. You can decide that, and every day that you go to bed, you can have a moment to check off how well you did. It’s much like the chores list we used to have when I would stay with my aunt. Our chores would be listed on a piece of paper with our name at the top and as we completed our chores, we’d get little stars for that chore. They were so much fun – they were gold sometimes, sometimes a red or green foil, all shiny – it was so exciting to see how many stars you could get. By the way, I mentioned that we’d have this chore list when we stayed with my Aunt – well,guess what birth order she is – yep, the oldest. We older siblings like our check list for sure!!
With excellence, it’s no different, you get to decide what your chore list is – for the day, for the month, for the year, for your life – you determine what that list is compiled of and you are the one that gets to reap the rewards. Did you get a gold star or a red or green one, maybe a silver foil star – whatever it is – you are the one that gets to decide. The great thing about it is you get to win. With perfection as your bar, there’s no chance for any color star on your list.
Here’s another quote from Vince Lombardi about excellence that I love, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
So there you have it – your life is a reflection of your commitment to excellence. What do you see when you look into the mirror of your life? Are you proud of your actions? Have you approached your challenges producing winning results? What about when you screw up? Oh gosh, did I say that? Those perfectionists out there are shaking in their boots right now for sure!! Yep, we all take a step, ALL OF US, take a step that doesn’t produce the results we intended. What then? You recalibrate – that’s the beauty of excellence. When you’re not striving to be perfect, but yet be your best and you don’t attain the level of best that you are happy with – you get a do over!!! TRY AGAIN!! Making another effort IS being outstanding. It’s extremely good – THAT is Excellence. See, you win!! As long as you are in motion and take positive action – you win! Have your pity party, dust yourself off and get up and do it again!!
Now this message is being brought to you by someone that in 7th grade, decided I was going to try out for cheerleader – Yes Lord, I’m going to get some pomp oms!! I was determined. Well, as timing in life goes, my family went to Florida on Spring Break just before the cheer leading tryouts were to be held. My sister and I were out in the water in St Petersburg, Florida and having the best time jumping waves. As the tide goes, it was going out when we started and before we realized it, it was coming back in and coming back in quickly. The waves were getting too high to jump and we were scared. So, we do our best to kick ourselves back to shore, but those of you familiar with the ocean will know what was happening, we were also fighting strong rip currents that were quickly pulling up towards the pier. The pier which was surrounded by large rocks and boulders that were covered in barnacles. That was our only way out – yes, to climb up the rocks covered in barnacles with the waves crashing up against us. Now this all happened very quickly, so no, my parents didn’t abandon us. We both successfully climbed out to find that we were covered in cuts up and down us oozing blood. Sorry for the gory details, but it’s what was. Both of us needed stitches in certain areas of our body, but we refused – would not allow it to happen. My parents and a hotel nurse were able to get us bandaged up and we went about our vacation. So, now with that image in your head, imagine this girl who wore glasses at time, totally decked out in her Hang Ten matching short set, out there on the middle school gymnasium floor with this big 6” hideous scab on her right thigh, trying to convince you, she would be awesome with pomp oms! Yes, that was me. I tried out for cheerleader for 5 years straight before I ever made it. BUT I made it on the Varsity squad, both my Junior and Senior year and in spite of the humiliation of my first attempt, victory is sweet. Those last 2 years of high school more than made of for the 5 years of defeat.
For me, excellence is me loving myself so that I might love others at a higher level. I’ll apply the Lombardi quote to this – the proportion to which I love myself is a reflection of how I am able and how much I can love others. I’ll leave you with this – so my biggest hope is that you will see excellence as something the Nike swoosh – just do it for your life. You can take that branding and apply over your heart and realize that it’s not about what is surrounding you, it’s not about what else is out there – it’s about what’s inside and what does that reflect to the outer world?
That’s what the Road to Excellence and this podcast is about. It’s about discovering how we can improve and grow our reflection to the outer world – that our ripple of excellence, will impact others for good.
Thank you for joining me and until next time, Live Excellence!