Recently, XINNIX had the great privilege to host a webinar with our CEO Casey Cunningham and Krish Dhanam—acclaimed author, CEO of Skyline Success, Global Ambassador for the Ziglar Group of Companies, and motivational guru—about how to stay motivated when we’re facing challenging times. For the past four weeks, we’ve been walking you through the key principles for staying motivated during difficult times—the A, B, C, D, and E of motivation. Last time, we talked about D, the Disposition of Discipline. Today, we bring this series to a close by learning about E, the Execution of Excellence.
Excellence Makes Anything Possible
At XINNIX, excellence is the cornerstone of everything we do. In fact, that’s what the X’s in the name XINNIX stand for. In other words, we begin and end with excellence. And in that excellence, anything is possible. When she was a little girl, Casey Cunningham’s mother told her, “Through excellence, there are infinite possibilities.” Now, that phrase is the motto of our company.
But what does that mean? Is it just a generic platitude or an inspirational quote? Casey believes it’s an undeniable truth that has seen her through even the most challenging market conditions. “No matter the state of the industry, my mother’s words have stayed with me. If we strive for excellence, go above and beyond what everyone else is doing, and never settle for mediocrity, we will be successful. We can achieve whatever we put our minds to. There is always a path to reaching our goals. We have to decide if we will do what is necessary to get there.”
Excellence Isn’t Easy
“Try your best” is a statement we say a lot, but we don’t really take the time to examine its meaning. Often, what we actually mean is, “Do a good enough job.” If we take a step back and define our best, nearly all of us will find that we are not living up to it. We can work harder. We can go higher.
That is what the execution of excellence is all about, shifting our perspective from “what can I do to get by” to “what can I do to go beyond?” Take a minute to think about how different your business would be if you were genuinely trying your best if you didn’t settle for “good enough?” What goals could you reach if you put 10%, 25%, and 50% more effort into your work? If you want to change your business and life, pursue excellence.
To be clear, this won’t be easy. There are no shortcuts to excellence. Krish says, “If I’m going to be effective in the days ahead, I have to first become uncomfortable.” But when we step out of the comfort of “getting by” and embrace the challenge of “going beyond,” we find that we are capable of more than we ever thought was possible.
Excellence Is a Bar Set by You—Not Others
If your reason for pursuing excellence is to get a pat on the back from your boss or win a competition with your co-workers, then you’re probably going to burn out. After all, what happens when you have that manager you seemingly can’t get along with, no matter how hard you try? What happens when your company hires somebody with twice the experience and connections you do? Do you give up? If others don’t perceive you as excellent, do you lose your motivation to try?
In their article “Managing Yourself: The Paradox of Excellence” for the Harvard Business Review, Thomas J. DeLong and Sara DeLong offer this insight: “[H]igh achievers often let anxiety about their performance compromise their progress. Because they’re used to having things come easily, they tend to shy away from assignments that will truly test them and require them to learn new skills. They have successful images to preserve, so instead of embracing risk, they hunker down and lock themselves into routines—at the expense of personal growth.”
The pursuit of excellence is not the avoidance of failure. When you’re trying something new, you’ll probably mess up. No one perfects a new technique or strategy the first time they implement it. Best practices take time to master. Excellence is defined by effort, not perfection—and certainly not the appearance of perfection.
Krish gives this advice: “Life is not a popularity contest. If it were, we could never win. Excellence is not how others perceive you. It’s how you perceive yourself. By that, I mean, don’t let the fear of yesterday cripple your performance today. Suit up again.”
Top producers know this secret: You only need to impress yourself. A mindset of excellence means that whether the whole world is watching or no one will ever see, you still put your best effort forward. Bosses and co-workers will change, but you must look at yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life. Make yourself proud.
To learn more about the five key principles for staying motivated during difficult times, read our previous entries on an Attitude of Gratitude, the Behavior of Belief, the Character of Completion, and the Disposition of Discipline. Want more from Krish Dhanam and Casey Cunningham about motivation? Read our recent article, How to Turn Challenges into Opportunities and Improve Sales Performance.