Why excellence matters so much to you and your business

Excellence is like magic. You can’t measure it, but you know when you have it and the results are miraculous. Here’s how you can achieve excellence in life and in business.

In everything we do, we strive for excellence. Whether we are writing your wedding speech or your screenplay, whether we are finding you new ways to reach your prospects or writing a book, we strive for excellence.

Why is this important?

excellence quote
Why not do everything to 80%? That’s pretty good, right? We’ll earn 80% of possible revenues and eat 80% of possible meals.

Well, it’s not quite like that. For starters, sometimes you have to shoot for 110% to achieve 80%.

And you cannot put a price on the pride, confidence and self-esteem of pushing yourself to the limits and seeing how much better you are than you would otherwise have been.

Excellence means that you are amazing. It’s that simple. Be amazing by doing your best. You don’t have to be better than Wayne Gretzky or Celine Dion. You just have to be your best.

But there’s more to it than that. As my mother used to say, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

When you look back on your life one day, you will view it through one of two lenses:

  • You might be content at having lived a good life.
  • You might be filled with regret.

The interesting thing about regret is that very few people regret what they’ve done. Many people regret what they didn’t do. And often, that is simply a matter of not having tried their hardest.

Jeff Haden explains what the research shows:

“In fact, when asked to name their single biggest life regret, 76 percent of participants cite an action not taken that would have helped them realize their ideal self.”

In business, excellence is not just the difference between 80% and %100 of possible success. It’s the difference between – steady yourself – total failure and having the world at your door.

Yes, a lack of excellence leaves you vulnerable to an economic downturn.

It puts you at the mercy of a new competitor dedicated to excellence.

It leaves you vulnerable to customer indifference.

That’s why people hire us to write their wedding speeches and their screenplays, to find new ways to reach their prospects or to edit their manuscripts. We can give them excellence in areas we specialize in.

An amazing story of excellence

The benefits of excellence are amazing. I came across the story of saw maker Jean-Pierre Mercier. I won’t expect you to read the article, as it’s in French. But the story perfectly illustrates the benefits of excellence.

What caught my attention – what made me dig in and read it – was the photo. A man sawing down a tree with a hand saw. If the picture had been in black and white, it would have made sense to me. But this modern picture was an anachronism. We have chainsaws these days. Who would manually saw down a tree?

It turns out, a lot of people.

I learned that, quite apart from logging, there is another group of modern-day lumberjacks wielding manual saws. Yes, there are “tree felling competitions” and “lumberjack contests.” They cut the trees using only the power in their bodies.

But I learned something else. I learned how this one man, with his little company in the tiny Quebec village of Sainte-Agathe-de-Lotbinière, has the world at his door.

It turns out that a Mercier saw is a prize possession among 21st century lumberjacks.

If you want to know the value of something, check how long the line-up is. There is a two year wait for a Mercier saw.

That’s the power of excellence. When you are amazing, you have the world at your door.

Excellence attracts customers

Excellence has a way of revealing itself. Mercier saws have chocked up over 60 world championship titles. Even better, these hand-crafted Canadian saws have set world records over 30 times.

Jean-Pierre began 20 years ago, and spends 50 hours on each saw he makes. Yes, 50 hours.

Imagine the effort that goes into 50 hours of making a single saw.

Imagine the patience it takes.

Imagine the care and attention to detail.

Can you imagine yourself taking that time and making that effort? Can you imagine yourself being excellent?

This is not a rhetorical question. Close your eyes and picture yourself being excellent.

Is that how you are already? Do you dedicate your time and effort to excellence? Or do you rush through things? I suspect that most of us do a little of both.

The lesson here is that the more you dedicate yourself to excellence, and the less you rush on through, the more successful you will be.

Now in his 60s, Mercier has won over 20 titles himself in some of the world’s biggest championships. After 20 years crafting his saws, his motto remains “Tant qu’on peut, on continue!” (“As long as I can, I continue!”)

Tant qu'on peut, on continue

What makes you excellent?

What makes excellence?

  • Putting in the time.
  • Never assuming you already know it all.
  • Never accepting second best.
  • Always going the extra mile, and keeping on going until you reach a point where it is impossible to go further (and then going beyond).

You can’t measure excellence. There is no 80% in excellence. Either you’re all in, or you’re all out.

Are you willing to be amazing? Are you willing to grant your 89-year-old self the gift of looking back content on a life of excellence?

About David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt is President of The Happy Guy Marketing, a published author, a "Distinguished Toastmaster", a former consumer advocate, a social media addict and experienced with media relations and government reports.

Read more about David Leonhardt

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