Last week I asked the question, “Is Excellence a Part of your DNA?” This week, I ‘m asking – How do you Reach your Level of Excellence? I often times wonder how can I reach that level of excellence that I’m striving for? This of course, is not an easy question to answer. However, in order to answer this question one must be “real’” with one self.  If you are like me, then you have that internal desire to be a person of excellence.  The first step to reaching a higher level of excellence is :

1. Eliminate excuses for the like of excellence – Now this is a hard step. Let me help you with this one. I am on a mission to lose 28 pounds and I know that in order for me to do that I need to work out and eat a certain way. Now, I work out about 2 days a week on my own and 1 day a week with a personal trainer, and I feel that I eat pretty healthy. However,  I have yet to reach my goal. If I’m honest with myself I should have reached this goal by now. Instead, I’ve been doing just enough to get by.  I would come up with excuses like, “um….I can’t get up at 5 a.m. to work out every day because….well…..I really don’t have an excuse.”  Or I would say – well I can eat this little bit of chocolate..it won’t hurt” etc…or “working out 2 days a week is good enough.” In other words, I kept coming up with excuses and if I want to be in my MOST excellent shape it is not enough to just do the bare minimum just to maintain. I have to take it to another level. A level of excellence.  Often times, we have a tendency to excusing ourselves to justify being mediocre.

If you want to get that promotion, start that business etc…whatever it is, you can not do it by being complacent or mediocre. You have to take it to the next level. Otherwise, you will stay right where you are.

2. Self-evaluation – This is tied to Step 1. Self-evaluation is key. You have to really be honest with yourself and ask yourself “Am I doing all that I need to do to get to my level of excellence? ” I bet you the answer is no.  For me, I know what things I need to do to take my book/my career to the next level. I know what I need to do to achieve my goal of losing 28 pounds.  Self-evaluation is hard especially if you are not being honest with yourself. You can jump start your self-evaluation phase by asking some key individuals who you trust will provide you with honest feedback.  For me, I asked my mother and one of my friends who works out all the time – they told me that I wasn’t serious enough about my weight lose goal and that I was just doing enough to maintain and they know that I can do better. That feedback was hard to hear, but it was necessary. And because of their feedback I know what I need to do. The same with my book- I’ve spoken to some individuals who I trust and they too told me what I need to do – to brand myself and get my name out there. (Hence the reason why I’m writing on this blog).  You will need to do the same thing if you want excellence for yourself.

3. Execute with endurance - This is a very essential step with the entire reaching excellence process.  I’m going to help you with this one too. If my goal is to lose 28 pounds, I need to have a plan of excellence in place to achieve that goal – because without a plan you don’t know where you are going and if you are reaching those key milestones.  Even with my book and branding myself-I have to have a plan in place in order to get to the level of excellence that I’m trying to reach. Now, here’s the tough part of this step-once you visually see your plan of action-do not get scared or allow fear to take over. This is where you have to have endurance.  Seeing your plan laid out may be overwhelming at first-but you must know that without a plan you won’t know where you are going.  So if you don’t have your plan written out – get your pen and notebook out and start writing.

4. Emerge and expose yourself in an environment of excellence – What this means is that you need to surround yourself with individuals who are doing what you are doing, but are doing it better than you. If you just surround yourself with folks who are doing like you or not as good as you – then you have nothing to strive for. For example, I’ve identified several key people who have done what I’ve done (writing a book) and are doing it better than me as far as branding themselves and making a name for them.  So I have befriended them and I stay in touch with them and ask for pointers and feedback so that I can get to their level.  How do you meet these individuals? Network, network, network. I remember I dated a guy who didn’t believe in networking. He said that was just an excuse people would use to meet men or to meet women to date. However, if you are strategic with your networking and stay focused on your purpose, then networking can be very beneficial for you.  Another thing you can do is to read books, articles go to workshops, seminars – do whatever it is to enhance your skill sets on what you are trying to do.  Because please believe me – you don’t know it all.  For me, I am reading some interesting books to sharpen my mind and help me to expand on my vocabulary – which comes in handy when doing speaking engagements, books signings, interviews etc…So if you haven’t identified those individuals who already do what you are doing or want to do ….do it today. Ask them questions on how they got to that level of excellence. If you see a book or article that is related to what you want to do…then read it.  Remember know one can help you reach your level of excellence but yourself.