My friend and Mentor Michael Reuter Leadership Professor at SHU sent this to me.
Confucius wrote about excellence: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” Erica Brown in her book, Take Your Soul to Work, writes that “excellence does not come in a one-size-fits-all-package” and shares her thoughts on the four difference ways excellence can be understood using the perspectives of four famous people.
Relative Excellence: We are probably not excellent, but we’re a lot better than any other game in town (Dolly Parton: “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.”)
Instrumental Excellence: We are not committed to excellence for its own sake but for the same of efficiency (John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”)
Aspirational Excellence: We set our standards so high that they become unattainable. (Vince Lombardi: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”)
Focused Excellence: We cannot accomplish every goal, so we need to determine what we really can do best and be laser-focused. (Steve Jobs: “We don’t get a change to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellence. Because this is our life.”)
The perspectives suggest a slight situational look at excellence and this may apply throughout the journey of great leaders. Martin Luther King Jr., however, paints a portrait of the excellence to which all great leaders strive and role model in their lives: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Excellence is a commitment to giving oneself completely, unconditionally and passionately to everything, great and small, that we do in life.