Why Striving for Excellence is a Mindset Even You Can Develop

Why Striving for Excellence is a Mindset Even You Can Develop

They infuriate you.

Make you green with envy.

And every time you hear about their latest achievement, something in you dies.

They always got the best grades. Their boss loves them. As for athletic prowess, you dare not even look.

Yes, don’t you just hate those people who excel at everything?

You want to put on a brave face and say to yourself that it doesn’t really matter if others are achieving so much more than you. Performing at a whole different level to you.

And here you are stuck in your world of never-ending mediocrity.

Oh, why is life so unfair?

So what do you do?

Is there any hope for you?

Will you ever eat at the top table?

I too felt like this once.

The Cocky Young Guy Who Learnt to Eat Humble Pie

I was a cocky young guy who thought he knew it all. I was smarter than everyone else. Of course, I knew best.

And yet others who I considered to be far inferior to me were getting on in life and in their career. Leaving me behind on my high horse.

And it killed me daily from the inside.

Just what the hell was going on? Were they just smarter than me?

What was their secret sauce?

Was it magic?

Then one day, I had a wake-up call. A painful wake-up call.

A friend took me to one side and gave me a furious and fearful pep call which changed my life forever. He scared the living daylights out of me, but I thanked him afterwards for his straight-talking.

He told me what I had suspected deep down all along — I was just not pushing myself enough. I was content to be mediocre.

These guys were not smoking some crazy weed to excel so much.

They were no smarter than me.

They were simply smarter in using what gifts they had — and unlike me, they were applying themselves.

Yes, they were working their backsides off. Whilst I simply poo-pooed them. And pissed on their parade.

At first, I was angry with my friend. I always know best, so how dare he lecture me.

But deep down I knew he was right. It was time to eat some humble pie. And to buckle up and get my arse in gear.

It was time to work my arse off. And to FOCUS on excellence.

And it was also time for me to focus on excellence rather than perfection.

It was so obvious that I felt stupid for not having seen this much sooner.

The secret to proficiency and indeed the secret sauce for success in life was to develop a mindset of excellence.

Time to Get Smug about Your Own Moments of Excellence

I then remembered all the times in my life I had been excellent. Even brilliant.

The time when I wrote and published a best-selling book in just 6 weeks. And the time I took part in my first marathon with virtually no training.

The list was actually quite long and impressive.

You too have excelled so much already in your life. Have a quick look at your own life and recollect the times you have rocked it.

So you already know you can excel and be the best — but only when you choose to put your mind to it.

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well” — John W Gardiner

You already have everything you need to become excellent in your chosen area.

You too can be the boss’s favourite.

You too can strut your stuff on the court.

You too can develop the mindset for excellence.

Also, know that it’s not your fault you haven’t yet excelled as much as you would have liked. No one taught you how.

But now you can. You just have to apply these key strategies:-

1. Focus, Focus, Focus

Single-minded attention to one activity for a prolonged period of time will radically change your life.

So focus on completing one thing at a time.

Plan your time so that you can give each task its due undivided attention.

Block out any distractions such as Social Media, notifications, TV, mobile, emails, visitors and so on.

Ask yourself — what is important, your goal or the distraction?

2. Put on Your Superman Cape -and Start Flying

Some people have a fixed mindset. They wallow in their life always being a drudgery and their cursed fate and bad luck.

Oh, life is so unfair for them.

But you no longer need to live with your sob story.

It’s time to create your new story of excellence.

You can develop a can-do attitude instead. Anything is possible.

A fixed mindset is not for you as you now have a growth mindset.

With your growth mindset, you can now look for smarter ways of doing things. Focus on incremental growth, no matter how small.

Superman was smart, even though he wore his underwear inside out. And he could also fly — and now so can you.

3. Go the Extra Mile

Always give more than is expected of you.

Most people cut corners but from today onwards, you doing shoddy work is a thing of the past.

Give much more than is expected of you. Over-deliver with a smile.

Bring a service mindset to everything you do — and see how your results improve.

Look at every situation in terms of the value you can add. Do things faster, better, and even more cheerfully for everyone in your life — customers, employer, family, friends, and for yourself.

Helping others regardless of what’s in it for you, exceeding expectations and going that extra mile will set you apart from others.

4. Bring Sizzle into Everything You Do

Bring passion and energy into everything you do — especially what you do for a living.

Half-hearted attempts will ultimately show up as mediocrity.

Seek out those things you can get passionate about and use them to create excellence in your life.

Also, be totally committed to what you do, as excellence is only possible only with commitment.

Either find a way to become fully committed to what you’re doing or find something else to do.

Once totally committed, you will be able to work around obstacles.

The moment you get truly committed, you’ll find ways of learning quickly what needs to be done. And you’ll find the right people to help you.

By the way, asking for help is perfectly okay. Allow others to help you excel.

5. Challenge Yourself Daily

Challenge yourself to excel all the time. This will help you build your confidence and competence.

What can you improve on today that you did yesterday?

The person you become in the pursuit of your dream is worth even more than the achievement of that dream.

What can you improve on today that you did yesterday?

Aim high and push to be your absolute best, and then go even beyond that — you are capable of far more than you think!

At the same time, be realistic — don’t set your sights so high that you have no way of reaching your goal.

If I am afraid of doing something, I just have to do it! And I usually manage to do it — and now so can you…

6. Expect the Best of Everyone Around You

By expecting the best from others, you are more likely to get the best from them.

Most important of all, expect the best from yourself.

Become aware of your constant self-talk. Yes, that self-talk.

Talk to yourself in more positive terms — and lessen the negative self-talk.

7. Always Follow Through and Follow Up

So many times you might have left a task unfinished.

The initial excitement wanes and you get bored or simply can’t be bothered.

We have all been there.

But just a little more effort to finish the task will bring big results.

Conversely, only ever start what you know you can finish.

Also, do it right the first time and save yourself a lot of time in not having to go back and fix it later.

Be careful not to aim for perfection. So many people strive for perfection — and end up never starting and not doing anything!

Always strive for excellence, not perfection.

8. Believe in What You do

Everything you do matters.

A life of excellence comes from continually making a contribution to others.

You can’t save the whole world single-handedly (not yet anyway) and though we can’t all be a Gandhi or a Mandela, you can certainly make a difference to one person at a time. So look for ways to contribute.

Ask yourself what special skill or knowledge do you have, that can solve a problem or make the best of a situation?

Knowing that you count will shift your mindset to one of excellence and service.

9. Take Care of Your Rolls Royce

To live a life of excellence, you need to look after your engine — the only one you have.

So it’s time for you to take extreme self-care.

Only by being in top physical and mental state can you have the energy, drive and vitality to excel.

Take regular breaks — work diligently whilst you are at it, but after that put it aside.

Have regular vacations and use that time to reflect on bringing even more excellence into your life.

Remember to eat healthy to get and stay healthy.

10. Become a Leech for Knowledge

You have been through so many experiences in your life already, some which you might even class as negative.

Now it’s time to reframe them.

Every situation you have been through has a learning opportunity — see problems and obstacles as opportunities to grow and excel.

Look around and appreciate excellence whenever you come across it and learn what you can learn from that.

Look for ways of learning from others. Ask questions of others. There is no shame in not knowing something — there are no stupid questions.

See any criticism as a beautiful gift of feedback.

You have access now to so much knowledge and tools online. It’s a no-brainer really — you can learn and develop any skill you choose.

Start Living a Life of Excellence from Today

So there you have it — you need no longer hide and squirm around your high-performing and super-achieving friends.

A mindset focused on striving for excellence will transform your life.

No longer do you need to compare yourself with others. You only need to challenge yourself daily to improve and grow.

Living a life of excellence is not difficult, it’s all about you adopting the right mindset.

Simply decide right now to give everything you do your best shot — and you will be amazed and astounded with what life gives you back.

How I Overcame the Fear of Public Speaking - and You Can Too

How I Overcame the Fear of Public Speaking - and You Can Too

Let me guess. It started when you were young.

You were asked to stand in front of the classroom and recite times tables or read a book, and you were petrified.

You couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Nervous. Sweating. Heart Racing. You wished the world would open up and swallow you alive to escape the situation.

And now, years later, it’s not much different. Every time you have to speak in front of a group of people, you feel exactly like you did in that classroom.

Petrified.

It was exactly the same for me.

This fear of speaking in public haunted me for decades. Death would have been more welcome than an invitation to speak in public.

But not anymore….

I Overcame my Life-long Fear of Speaking in Public

Some time ago I spoke in front of over 300 people for 90 minutes.

It was the first time I spoke on a large stage with such a large, discerning audience.

I felt calm and confident. No nervousness. No sweat. No heart racing.

And the audience lapped it up. I even got a standing ovation at the end.

So what was the secret behind such a transformation for me?

I let go of the fear of people and of the concern of what they thought of me. Letting go of this fear allowed me to focus on some basic principles of public speaking.

You too can learn to get over your fear of being in front of people and speaking — it’s all about taking tiny steps until one day you are comfortable doing so.

If I can do it, so can you — here’s how:-

1. Be Yourself — Just Be Authentic and Genuine

The most important thing is to be you.

Just be yourself when speaking and people will get you.

You have probably heard this advice many times — and yet so many people fail at this point when they try and emulate someone else when speaking in public.

You are unique — so let the world see just how unique you are.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” — Judy Garland

After I spoke at the event with the audience of 300 people, I received a lot of generous feedback — and most of it centred around how genuine and authentic I came across.

What they got was my passion for helping them and contributing in some way to them and the world.

And you don’t even have to be the type of high energy speaker who gets everyone high-fiving every few minutes — just be yourself.

2. Believe in Yourself — You Have So Much to Offer

You have an important message to share and you are here to contribute through your life lessons.

Everyone has a unique life story with its own challenges and triumphs and that alone makes your story worth sharing.

You too have so much to offer!

So pick out your key learnings and share them with others in an inspiring way.

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble, but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy” — Norman Vincent Peale

Believe in what you have to say and what you have to offer. Value your products and services — remember that what you share will inspire people and change their lives.

At the same time, remember that it’s only natural to be a bit nervous when you are on stage in front of a large audience.

So give yourself some slack and know that over time, this nervousness will diminish.

3. Connect with People at a Human Level

All communication ultimately is about connecting with others at a deeper level — and this is no different when speaking in public.

So speak from the heart. From your heart to theirs.

During my talk, I shared my story of how experiencing unconditional love for the first time changed my life forever at an orphanage in South India.

I ended my talk with a video of Nirvana School — and there was what felt like pin-drop silence interrupted by a couple of people in the audience sobbing away. I touched and moved them in some way.

Remember — a speech can change a life.

The key is for you to connect with others at a deeper level — and then watch the magic and miracles take place.

4. Strut Like a Peacock and Own the Stage

Always remember that you are an “expert”. You have a lot of useful information to share with your audience. You know your message and you are confident about putting it across well.

Own the stage. And shine.

Also, know that most of your audience would rather die than be in your shoes on the stage! So you have one up on them already before you have even started.

They are gagging to hear what you have to say, so strut your stage

Of course, you do have to know your stuff. But you don’t need to be a world authority either — you just need to know enough for the needs and expectations of your audience.

5. Share your Powerful Stories and Move Them to Tears

The most amazing thing about speaking in public is how through your stories you can dramatically change someone’s life.

You can inspire people to see and do things in a completely different way and you can change lives through your powerful stories.

Their life and the world will never be the same again.

People love stories — so share your stories of the ups and downs of your life — and how you overcame the sort of challenges they might face too.

Show them how they too can also overcome similar challenges to yours. Make them laugh with your stories. Even better, make them cry.

Move them to tears — and they’ll never forget you.

6. Adopt a Service Mindset and Blow Them Away

When you genuinely come from a place of wanting to contribute and help others, magic happens!

People will truly get you are there to serve — and that you deeply care about them.

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” — Theodore Roosevelt

Looking back at my talk in front of 300 people, I remember getting into the flow about 10 minutes into my talk.

I no longer felt nervous, and my voice became more confident, as I put myself out of the picture. My deep desire to serve and contribute took over — and magic happened. At that moment, I felt the audience was enraptured by my message.

So look bring this service mentality into your public speaking.

7. Learn from Other Speakers — They Too Were Terrified Once

You’ve seen many accomplished and polished speakers on stage and wondered just how they got so good.

But they too were terrified of speaking in public once.

And now you too can get as good as them by seeing them in action and learning how they practice their craft.

You could even reach out to them and ask them for their “secrets.” They will be eager to share what they know — and pass on the mantle to you.

To start with, check out Sol Orwell’s outstanding guide 62 Tips on Crushing Pubic Speaking 

By just learning one thing from each speaker, you’ll soon build up your skills and confidence.

Take one step at a time — you just don’t know where your speaking is going to take you.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” — Dr Martin Luther King

8. Prepare and Rehearse — But Not too Much!

You know your stuff and you are confident of your presentation.

Preparation is king — so allow plenty of time to prepare and rehearse your talk. Rehearse in front of a couple of friends — and ask for critical and specific feedback. You could even practice your speech in front of a mirror.

However, do not overdo your preparation and plan every second of your talk.

Once you are on the stage, your inner wisdom will take over and you’ll be amazed at just how well your presentation will flow once you allow it to do so.

And even if you are a bag of shredded nerves before your talk, you’ll ooze with confidence a few minutes into your talk, as outlined here:-

9. Accept Help from Others — You Can Pay It Forward One Day

On your adventure towards speaking in public, be open and willing to reach out to others.

People want to help you — you simply have to ask for help.

Give them a chance to contribute to you — so be open to accepting any offers of help.

Then one day you can pay it forward to those people also wanting to learn to speak in public.

“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” — Maya Angelou

10. Speak, Speak, Speak — It’s a Life-Long Learning Journey

Once you have spoken in public, you’ll want to improve and master your craft.

Know that you can get better and better at speaking in public.

So seek out opportunities to improve your speaking and to get in front of an audience.

  • Check out Toastmasters— there’s bound to be a club local to you. This is a great way to get started with speaking in public in a supportive environment.
  • Consider joining your local debating society.
  • Ask around on social media and amongst your family, friends, work colleagues and other people in your community for speaking opportunities.
  • Let everyone know you are available for speaking in public — and share about your chosen topic.
  • So many organisations such as clubs and even schools are always looking for interesting speakers who can add value to their members.

Start with small audiences and soon you will rapidly build up your confidence and expertise to speak in front of larger crowds.

Time to Strut Your Stuff!

So there you go.

You too can speak in public.

You too can conquer your fear of speaking in front of friends and strangers.

You too can have the audience enthralled to your words.

And the best thing of all?

Your audience will be in total awe of you.

You will be doing the one thing they are so petrified about!

You may even learn to love speaking in public and sharing your valued expertise — a fun opportunity to share the best of yourself whilst making a bunch of new friends.

And making a difference to your audience.

The stage is set.

You know you can do it.

It’s time to strut your stuff — and to own your stage.

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