Do you want to be really good at what you do? Honestly? There are three important keys to extraordinary, and although people pay lip service to them, few people truly internalize what they entail.
The first skill is commitment…the ability to say, ‘yes, I’m doing this’. Without commitment, there is no excellence. You’ve got to make a decision to move forward. Otherwise you are always waffling and making excuses.
Commit is a contract, a decision to push through the tough stuff, and I do believe it opens up avenues that you wouldn’t otherwise have been presented with. Whether you are simply looking for opportunities more clearly and receptively, or there is another power at work, doors start to open for you.
One of my favourite quotes has to do with commitment, often attributed to Goethe but actually from William Hutchison Murray…
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
There is a real power in committing fully to something, with full intention, and surrendering to the process. You can sense it.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, consider first how committed you are. Are you holding back something? Why? What are you afraid of?
In this day and age, sustained focus may be one of the most difficult of the three keys to accomplish. There are so many things competing for our time and resources.
Real excellence is achieved by sustained, focused effort in one area over a long period of time. It’s not that you can’t achieve different things in life, but you can’t do them all at once and do them well. Our best performances are when we can truly focus our time, energy and resources on one thing for a significant period of time, with few other distractions.
Generally, you can probably do two things really well at the same time in your life, but beyond that the quality starts to suffer.
Extraordinary results come from developing a high level of expertise. Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell, most people have heard the concept that mastery requires 10 years or 10000 hours of practice. That sounds all good and well, but if you break that down, that means at least 20 hours a week consistently for 10 years. Are you giving that kind of focus to your goal? It’s okay if you aren’t, but just be honest with yourself about why you are getting the results you are.
This is often the tough one for people to swallow. You can’t have it all. You have to make tough choices. You need to prioritize.
Now, for some people this is easy because their passion is so strong that missing out on other things doesn’t feel like a “sacrifice” per se, but make no mistake, there are sacrifices being made that you may not recognize for years. But it must be done to reach high levels of performance.
Athletes sacrifice their bodies to injuries that plague them in later years, there are sacrifices made in the name of relationships, finances, and any number of other things.
I can tell what you are prioritizing and focusing on, not by your words, but by the actions and choices you make every day.
Most of the time, lack of talent is an excuse for a lack of success because people don’t want to put in the tremendous amount of commitment, work and sacrifice it takes to be extraordinary. But understand it’s not because they don’t have the ability, it’s a choice they make with their resources and priorities.
The choices aren’t right or wrong, it’s simply a choice you have to be happy with and own. What choices are you making? Are you happy with them?
Is it possible to find a workable balance? Yes, of course. The more self-awareness you have and the more honest you are with yourself and those around you, the more power you have over those choices in creating healthy balance in your life, and using your time effectively, while prioritizing the actions you need to take to pursue your dreams.
Excellence all the time
The interesting thing about excellence is that you can live in excellence by making small choices every day with integrity. It develops your character, which will bleed into everything that you do and turns you into a peak performer, because you never cut corners. Small choices don’t cost you a lot of energy, but they bring massive results.
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