What standards do you set for yourself? Do you strive for excellence or is good enough acceptable? Are you satisfied with doing the minimum needed to get by? It’s important to have high standards because it’s impossible to have an exceptional life without them.
Successful people strive for personal exceptionalism. They understand how essential excellence is in the quest for achievement. They consistently utilize the power of the slight edge which states that, “a small amount of extra effort produces results far in excess of the effort required.”
Personal exceptionalism starts with personal responsibility. You must recognize that you are the one responsible for the direction of your life. If you are unhappy with where you are, only you can change it. It’s counterproductive to blame other people or circumstances.
Here are a number of examples in your life where you can develop personal exceptionalism. Keep in mind that there is no cost to incorporating these concepts. However, living a life of mediocrity is expensive.
The Quality of Your Work. Whether you work for someone else or run your own business, your standards ultimately define your income and career progress. Providing more than you are being paid for makes you a valuable asset and attracts customers.
Initiative. Do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. Employers, customers, and people in general value this. When you anticipate the needs of others, you develop a reputation for responsiveness. This strategy demonstrates courtesy and attentiveness.
Creativity. Always look for ways to improve whatever you do. Don’t get into a routine of doing things solely because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Look at things from a fresh perspective. When something doesn’t make sense, find a better way.
Judgment. Avoid jumping to conclusions or making decisions based on incomplete or false information. Sound judgment requires gathering pertinent information and evaluating it objectively. The goal is to make the best decision possible at the time with the information you have at hand.
Problem Solving. Your success is linked to your problem solving ability. Every problem has a solution. The challenge lies in finding it. Great accomplishments require solving significant problems. Those who struggle through life take the reverse approach; they find problems in every situation.
Communication Skills. The ability to effectively convey ideas, both orally and in writing, is paramount to your success. You’ve got to be able to adapt to your audience, communicating in a way they can understand. If you don’t, it’s very frustrating. The effective communicator understands that more important than what they say, is what people hear.
Teamwork and Cooperation. Life is not a solo activity. Your success is dependent on others. You have to interact with people both professionally and socially. From family to strangers, the ability to effectively cooperate with those who have an impact on your life is essential. You have to be able to deal with a broad spectrum of personalities ranging from those who are easy to get along with to the extremely difficult.
Take an honest look at theses areas. Identify aspects you can improve in each one. Striving for personal exceptionalism is an ongoing endeavor. Regardless of where you are now, there’s always room for improvement.
There are numerous books written on each of the topics I’ve mentioned. It’s well worth your time and effort to get as much information as possible on how to make improvements in each area.
If you haven’t been striving for excellence, today is a great time to start. Doing so will have a dramatic positive impact on the direction of your life. You do want to become the best you can be.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at
or write him c/o this paper. 2012 Bryan Golden