Challenge of Excellence

Once you have commitment to a team, the challenge of excellence is to become a leader. That can mean being the president of a Fortune 500 company, or it can mean being the best teacher you can be. It can mean being a better entrepreneur or a better parent. True leaders have knowledge of the power of procession, a sense that great changes come from many small things. They realize that everything they say and do has an enormous power to empower and embolden others.

That happened in my life. When Mr.R was in high school, he had a speech teacher who asked him to stay after class one day. R wondered what he had done wrong. He said Mr R, “I think you have the makings of an incredible speaker, and I want to invite you to speak in competition next week with the squad from our school”. R didn’t think he was anything special as a speaker, but he was so strong and congruent, he believed him. It led R to his profession as a communicator. His teacher did a small thing, but it changed R’s life forever.

The challenge of leadership is to have enough power and vision to be able to project in advance what outcome will result from your actions, large and small. The communication skills formally mentioned in books, articles and other pamphlets offer critical ways to make those distinctions.

A top manager Mr.M’s first mentor was a man named JR. He taught M that happiness and success in life are not the result of what we have, but rather of how we live. What we do with the things we have makes the biggest difference in the quality of life. He taught M that even the smallest things could make big differences in life. For instance, JR told M to always be a two-quarter person. JR gave the example of a shoeshine. Let’s say the shoeshine man is doing a great job. He is whistling and snapping his shoeshine rag. He is giving you great value. JR said when you dip into your pocket to tip him, and you’re not sure whether to give him one quarter or two, always go for the higher number. You do it not just for him, but for yourself as well. If you just give him one quarter, later in the day you’ll look down and see your shoes and think, “I only gave him one quarter. How could I be so cheap when he did such a great job?” If you give him two, it will affect the way you feel about yourself for the better. What if you made it a principle that every time you passed someone taking a collection for anything, you always put some money in the collection plate? What if you made an automatic commitment always to buy from a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or whomever? What if you made it a point to call friends every now and then, just to say, “I’m not calling for any special reason, I just wanted you to know I love you. I don’t want to interrupt you – I just want to communicate that to you?”

What if you made it a point to send little thank you notes to people who have done things for you? What if you spent conscious time and effort figuring new and unique ways to get more joy out of life by adding value to other people’s lives? That’s what life style is all about. We all have the time; the question of the quality of life is answered by how we spend it. Do we fall into a pattern, or do we continuously work at making it unique and special? It seems like a little thing, but the effect that all these little things have on how you feel about who you are as a person is very powerful. They affect your internal representations of who you are and thus the quality of your states and life.

Our last comment is to challenge you to share this information with others – for two reasons, really. First, we all teach what we most need to learn. By sharing an idea with others, we get to hear it again and remind ourselves of what we value and believe is important in life. The other reason is there is incredible, almost unexplainable richness and joy that comes from helping another person make a truly important and positive change in his life.