My 5th grade daughter came to me and said she got a 70 on her science test. I asked her, “was that the very best you could do?” She thought for a moment and said, “yes”. I said, “well, it is what it is”. I then explained to her (as I do every year) that I do not care about grades. I only care that she’s done her very best each and every time. If she got a 90 and it wasn’t her best, then we”ll have to talk. If she got a 60 and she gave it her all, what can I say? And lets be honest, 30 years from now, no one is really going to give a shit how well she did in 5th grade science. But what the world will take note of is the spirit in which she performs.
I can hear my dad’s country Texas/Chicago drawl now, “if you ain’t gon do it with excellence, then don’t do it at all”. I was raised to do all things well. Not perfect. Not without error. Not without mistakes. But with excellence. He explained that most people will look for the easy route and will perform with minimal effort. When you do things with excellence, and with your whole heart, you will stand out, win or lose.
When I think of excellence, I think of passion, intensity, girt and going HAM! When I think of excellence, I also think of resilience, determination, and consistency. And lastly, when I think of excellence, I think of soul, and that “je ne sais quoi” that makes one so incredibly hard to forget.
The spirit of excellence will carry you far. The scripture, Mark 7:37 comes to my mind,
“And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well”. Excellence is doing all things well. Striving toward perfection is exhausting, daunting and unattainable. It leaves you feeling stressed, overburdened and overextended. But excellence? When you adopt a spirit of excellence, with the intent to do all things well, when all is said and done, you can rest with the feeling of self-assurance knowing that no matter the outcome, you did your very best. And that’s more than a lot of people can say.