What are some strategies people might use to incorporate excellence into their work and personal lives?

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A quick Internet search reveals that "everybody" has ideas about how to be more successful in business, in relationships, and in life. The reality is that wanting to be excellent is the first step toward making it happen, and the best way to ensure that is to love what you are doing. This kind of passion naturally spurs excellence; however, often it is helpful to have some kind of a list to consult and follow. Here is one such general list.

First, set goals. They will give you purpose and direction; and, when you lose your way (as we all do), they will help you get back on track. A goal provides motivation and focus in business pursuits as well as life. If more than one goal is too many, begin with one and add as you are able.

Second, develop a strategy to achieve your goals. Determine what steps must be taken to get from where you are to where you want to go. (For example, it is not enough just to say that you want to publish a book; you must determine what steps you will take each day to make progress toward that goal.) You may need to start with very small steps, but you will make progress if you keep moving. Take an inventory of your skills and abilities; and, to serve as a guide, study the lives and practices of others who have been successful in the ways you want to be successful.

Finally, work hard. This sounds so easy, and most people will say they do regularly work hard; however, excellence takes more than most people are willing to give (or everyone would be excellent, right?). One way to determine whether you are working hard enough is to ask for feedback from the people you trust to tell you the truth and are in a position to know. These kinds of reality checks may be painful at times, but both positive and negative feedback has the potential to motivate and inspire. Feedback can also help you measure your progress.

Obviously there are more specific things you can do to incorporate excellence into specific areas of your life or career; however, these three things offer you a great start on the journey to excellence. 

chrisyhsun | Student
One “trick” that I do to strive for more excellence in what I do is to pretend that it’s required. In other words, instead of thinking “I’ve already accomplished what’s required and anything past this is extra and something that I don’t need to do”, I try to trick myself into considering these extra steps to be part of the required work. This gives me more pressure to complete the part that would make my actions “excellent” rather than “satisfactory”.
I know this strategy is a bit “hack-y” and seems like a lie to oneself rather than really changing one’s attitude to strive for excellence, but I think it is a good stepping stone, and once you get in the habit of requiring the extra amount of excellence, I think it’ll become more of a reflex reaction than something you have to trick yourself into doing.