One of my favorite interview questions to ask is “Is it better to strive for excellence or perfection?”. We all know life isn’t perfect. Perfection is a ghost, although arguably perfection is in the eye of the beholder. I do prefer excellence, as it’s through this that we can continue to grow and evolve.
Growth and evolution, they both sound like a beautiful concept and without question inspire thoughts of growing into new habits and making positive changes in our life and work. Often, we feel inspired to change, but it stops there, because the past has proven that it sounds nicer than attainable, or it’s a large conquest. I get it. But…there is a way, so long as the measuring stick by which we determine success is chopped a bit shorter, and we keep our eye on the ball.
Change Starts With Decision
When I start conversations with business owners or individuals about working together on hiring, growth, retention, or team building, I am always looking to see if the actual decision has been made before agreeing to anything. There’s no selling ANYONE on taking a leap into a new endeavor of discovery…that requires a willingness to see things through a new lens. There’s no gimmick or product to show them, it’s a journey of discovery that can humble and excite.
This is no different for anyone that is seeking to make a BIG change. Before there’s a chance of success, you MUST first DECIDE. It’s a decision someone else cannot make for you. This decision becomes a purpose, and that purpose will settle deep and pull you through the tough days. You must want the outcome and be willing to endure the challenge to obtain it.
It’s Easy Then Hard
Let’s say the decision has been made. That’s usually the first hit of excitement. You know you’re about to go somewhere new, and there’s a fine line between excitement and fear. Sometimes this fine line gets blurry, and at other times you feel you’ve made a very big mistake. The honeymoon period is amazing. I always think of it like a diet plan. The first few days are full of new, and you’re so focused on the outcome that you feel that strong will to keep moving. Then a few days or a week later…you are tired, maybe feeling challenged…and have lost NO weight or see no visible change. This is where many stop.
The hard is often accompanied by a sharp turn back to the comfort, and although it may be destructive or non-productive…it feels familiar. Happens all the time. THIS is the moment you are waiting for!!
Three Steps Forward – Two Steps Back
Let’s talk about practice and perfection. We are waiting for the hard part of change to hit when we embark on a new journey, I promise. I want to challenge each person reading this to shift their mindset about this part of your journey to evolve, grow or change in any way shape or form. First, instead of fearing this moment, anticipate it. Anticipate the moment you hit the brick wall…because something amazing is about to happen. This is where practice will come in. Second, think of it like your practice run. You swung and missed. You get to reposition, tighten your grip, and go again. You may do this over and over BUT each time you learn something new, and regardless of the exact outcome in that moment…you are always one step closer. This is the 3 steps forward 2 steps back approach. Small gains over time equal big wins.
We tend to start a new path with BIG goals. That’s awesome. Go for the gold each time, but within that big goal, get smaller. Identify each small win on the path to the big. One of the biggest keys to establishing new and lasting habits is the REWARD. We must feel some type of reward on these missions to change. GO BIG, but then get small and keep that goal in your focus (literally) at all times. Write it on the wall…somewhere visible to you daily. Hit the small goal, then set the next…move the ball forward little by little.
Celebrate the Practice
Here’s the thing about this practice; you may not notice it immediately, you may not notice it in the time frame you think you should, but one day you’ll look back and you’ll see the big change that happened. You’ll see the results you achieved, the team you’ve grown, the business you started, the relationships you’ve built and the success you’ve had…and you’ll know that it was all about the practice vs. the perfection. You’ve now hit excellence!