Today after a hard track workout with the Lighthouse Cristian Academy Varsity Cross-Country team I was loading up the runners into my van. I peeked over my shoulder to take a gander at my tired and sweaty runners lounging in the back of the van and made the comment about how I was going to have to explain to my wife why our van smells like sweaty teenage boys. One of my runners spouted off “Tell her this is what excellence smells like!”
The whole team liked that statement so much that we decided that would be our team motto and we are going to have some shirts made with the motto “This is what excellence smells like!” What a cool motto and a way to focus our efforts as a team this year!
It got me thinking though, what about the very definition of excellence. What does it mean to live a life of excellence? What does excellence look like or feel like? Living a life of excellence has been my focus the past decade. I enjoy pushing myself and the thrill of succeeding. For many years I felt excellence was something I was pursuing, like perfection. I thought it was a goal in my marriage, my finances, my health, my work. I have come to realize that excellence is much different than what I was chasing for so many years. It is much simpler than that it is simply a state of being.
The art of being excellent at something is not being perfect or even been the best, it is simply being the best you can be with what God gave you. It is about focusing on your strengths and sharpening those strengths in a way that will allow you to add value to the world.
So what does excellence look like? It looks like the guy who shows up early to a meeting and is prepared. It looks like the athlete who stays after practice to get in a few more reps. It looks like the guy who shows up to a dinner party, inspite of having a lousy day, because he made a commitment.
What does excellence feel like? It hurts a lot of times. Failure, pain, and suffering are very much a part of being in a state of excellence. It is delayed gratification, like the woman who gives the money she was saving for the latest iPhone to a charity that could use the money for good. It feels like the ache in your body after a hard days work. It is the feeling of the satisficaiton you feel when you sink in your bed at night knowing you gave it your best. Excellence is quite simply the willingness to do what others are not willing to do, so some day you will live like others will never live.
Excellence is a decision. It is a decision that we all have to make on a daily basis. It is a vehicle that we choose to drive on this road called life. It requires a commitment and you must take care of it, but in the end living a life of excellence is the only way to live and to live well. Go out and be excellent today!
What are some of your examples of excellent living?