Skill Assessment: Components of Reaching Excellence

I enjoy the light travel load August brings for many reasons: family time, dedicated office time, space to work on writing songs and, most importantly, time to sharpen my iPad/iPhone game skills. One of the games filling my rec. time this season is called Aqueduct. It is a complexing puzzle challenge that takes time to move through and requires certain skills to master.

Isn't personal and professional success the same? The following list contains eight components necessary for reaching excellence in activities ranging from guilty pleasures like Aqueduct to meaningful pursuits like being great at your job.

The 8 P's of Reaching Excellence
  1. Prior experience - Excellence today is a fruit growing on the tree of yesterday's hard work.
  2. Passion - This hard work is fueled by a love for your craft. All actions have self-motivation at their core. All great actions have passion at their core.
  3. Practice - The skills you need to rock to reach excellence in your area are muscles that need to be exercised. Greatness in the public is born from hours of practice in private.
  4. Perfection - I actually believe perfection is the enemy of excellence. However, a game like Aqueduct is a reminder that in many pursuits there is a gold standard; a goal to be reached; a method for knowing whether you've hit success or not. Excellence can only be reached if you have identified what it looks like and go after it with perfection driving your journey.
  5. Pliable - This skill is essential when you have firm performance metrics in place. Goals change, people get in the way, life happens, etc. Flexibility to adjust on the fly is critical for remaining on top of your game (and staying sane).
  6. Produce - Although relatively assumptive, it is important to highlight that excellence isn't just something you are, it is what you do. You have to produce. You have to go to market. You have to get the deal done.
  7. Patience - Success doesn't happen overnight and excellence doesn't happen "overyear". It takes (sometimes) many years of continual work to be exceptionally great at something. Also, this is an active patience. You aren't waiting on it to happen. You are just doing your job and doing growth right and excellence happens over time.
  8. Pursuit - Focused, laser-focused pursuit. Steve Jobs, the Apple (now former) CEO, is a shining example of the power of focused pursuit. He led Apple with a dedicated pursuit of making products that spoke to our creative, functional, inspired, human and beautiful needs. Your excellence may not lead a $330 billion company, but that doesn't diminish it's importance - to you or the people and projects you influence.
If you have room to grow (i.e. - you are breathing), examine your life and see which of these eight components needs more of your attention.

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