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.

Why You Should Never Bend Over Backwards for Anyone Even if You Really Want To

Why You Should Never Bend Over Backwards for Anyone Even if You Really Want To

You were always there for your family and friends.

You were ready to smash through walls for them.

You would have gone to the moon and back — and willing to go even further for them.

You thought you were doing the right thing. It was supposed to be noble to help others. And to go the extra mile.

That’s how you were brought up. You were always there for others.

And yet all along you felt there was something missing. Something was off, and you couldn’t quite put your finger on it.

You were always left with an empty feeling afterwards.

What was really going on here?

Then one day you needed some help. You were stuck.

And no one was there for you.

The people you had put on a pedestal were too busy for you. Too busy to help out the true friend who had always been there for them.

At your greatest hour of need, there was no one there for you.

Then the penny dropped.

YOU had become a doormat

It hurt like hell.

You felt like crap.

It’s not nice to be taken advantage of.

Your kind heart was abused.

You were always bending over backwards to help and support others.

But ultimately you were taken for granted.

Surely, it’s Okay to Help Others?

You’ve been brought up to help others. Be nice. Go out of your way to be there for people.

If you were honest with yourself – you loved being Mr Reliable. Miss Goody Two Shoes.

Always being polite and helpful.

Maybe it was your culture — you had to pull together and help others through their struggles. Bring them up to your level.

Maybe it was your work environment. You were taught to help out your colleagues for the greater good of the company.

Maybe it was your kind and sweet nature. Sweetly sweet.

Maybe it was this deep craving to be liked and appreciated. You were never enough so you were constantly seeking validation.

Why Helping the World Begins with Helping Yourself First

Whatever it was, it is now time to change. And to put yourself first.

If you are constantly doing things for others and looking after them, who is going to look after you?

Who is going to help you re-fill your almost empty well?

It is finally time go forward in your life knowing that you are enough as you are, without any need for seeking approval or affirmation of your worth.

So just how can you stop bending over backwards for other people?

Here’s how you can do that:-

1. Float Your Own Boat First

Firstly, get clear up front about what it is you want from others.

If you don’t know why you are helping someone or what it is you wish to happen, then you could end up feeling drained and rather frustrated.

We have all been so overly influenced by what we should do, must do and ought to do, that now what we really want has been deeply suppressed.

So be authentic and do what you want to do in your life.

I remember helping out a friend a few years ago to the point it got so draining for me in the end our friendship suffered and ultimately ended.

In any situation, ask yourself what your intention is and what your desired outcome would be.

For instance, when I was helping out this friend, I could have been clear in my mind why I was doing so.

Ultimately, I realised that it may have had something to do with my own desire to feel wanted and appreciated.

“If I had a prayer, it would be this: “God spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation. Amen.” — Byron Katie

With this new self-awareness, I got the freedom to be myself in that situation — and the friendship soon fizzled away naturally.

It all comes back to you increasing your own self-esteem, so you never let others treat you badly.

At the same time, I am not suggesting that one must have an ulterior motive anytime you wish to help someone with your times, resources and expertise.

Just be clear upfront why you are doing so, even if it is nothing more than wanting to feel good about yourself.

And that is okay too.

Be ready and willing to help others as much as you can, but not to your detriment.

2. Learn to Say NO!

In any situation, you have a choice whether to go along with doing something or not, or even choosing to do something entirely different.

Know that your needs count and you are important.

Once you are clear about what you want, then be sure to communicate this clearly so there are no misunderstandings.

I remember many a time I have agreed to do something where deep down I really didn’t want to do so. Such as agreeing with a friend to watch some mindless soap on television rather than going for an energising walk in the park.

It is okay to compromise but not if it becomes the norm that you always giving in.

In such a situation, I have found it best that both parties decide to do their own thing — after all in any relationship or friendship, richness comes from having a spectrum of varied and colourful interests.

So set your boundaries and people will respect you.

I am usually easy-going and happy to go along with a situation, but if I ever feel that someone is being unreasonable or crossing my boundaries of good behaviour, I will fight my corner, tooth and nail.

So it is about respecting the rights of others, but not to the point of your own rights being completely smothered.

3. Clear the Smelly Air

It is important to have no bad feelings between you and those around you.

If you ever feel used or being taken for granted, it is best to air this sooner rather than later.

Clear up any misunderstandings as they happen.

Quite often you will find that the other person was not even aware they were having that impact on you.

Remember that not everyone is as self-aware as you.

Unless you clear the air, resentments can simmer away and one day explode, normally sparked by some minor incident.

I once had a new neighbour, who was extremely noisy during the first few weeks of moving.

I tolerated his nuisance for a while and then in the end we had a face to face discussion. He agreed to only play and practice his music during certain hours.

A simple conversation meant cordial relations and peaceful evenings for me.

4. Teach Others How to Treat you.

You teach others how to treat you by the way you show up in the world.

If you treat yourself well and look after your needs first, the people around you will respect you.

They’ll know you are not to be messed with.

Negative conversations about you to friends will indicate to them just how you see yourself — and they’ll also begin to see you that way.

So best to avoid all negative talk about yourself when with others. Just be kind to yourself and especially when with others.

It is always good to be nice to others but start with being nice to yourself first.

Do cultivate peaceful relationships with equal give and take — and do tolerate those around you as long as they don’t infringe on your space.

5. Cut your Losses and Move On

Sometimes you just have to let go and move on — such as when my friendship with the draining friend ended.

It is not even about saving face or satisfying your ego — it is really about respecting yourself enough to move on.

There is only so much giving you can do in a situation.

If you feel that those around you cannot give you the respect you deserve, then take stock of the situation and ask yourself if you want to continue to be taken for granted any longer.

Many a time in the past, I have found myself in a disagreeable situation and looking back now, I realise that the situation actually wasn’t that bad.

Standing up for what I wanted and then moving away was much easier than I might have expected at the time.

It all comes back to knowing what you really want and your worth, and not accepting anything less.

Stand up Straight and Communicate Your Truth

You need not ever bend over backwards for anyone ever again.

You know you don’t need to any longer.

You’ve come a long way.

It’s time to stand up straight.

You can be a proud peacock and strut your feathers, knowing that you are valued by yourself and others.

As with most life experiences, it is all part of your growth and your learning.

From today onwards, look for the lessons from your experience of bending over backwards for others — you will be better prepared next time you face such a situation in your life.

People will respect you for your time, knowledge and experience — and they will see you as an equal.

People might even look up to you.

Someone to be respected and honoured. A true friend who will be there for you — but on equal terms.

Your friends will know for sure what you expect in your friendship — and they will truly value your friendship.

Your family will respect you for who you are and value what you bring to their lives.

You can finally confine in the bin those people who refuse to play ball and are just there to take from you.

You are now someone to be properly respected and reckoned with.

It’s time to stand up straight and communicate your truth clearly and confidently — the world is your stage.

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