“Leadership excellence, is it a goal or way of life?”

Bill Bradley, former three-time U.S. Senator from NJ, Rhodes scholar at Oxford, and all-American basketball player at Princeton, attended a summer basketball camp at age 15. While there, basketball great “Easy” McCauley told him, “If you’re not getting the most out of your ability during practice, there’ll be someone out there one day working the most of his ability and when you play against him he’ll have the advantage.”

Neither critics nor competitors should determine your level of excellence. What’s the difference between success and excellence? You measure success by comparing yourself with others. You determine excellence by your efforts versus your potential.

Others reward your success and it comes to only a few, but excellence is available to everyone if they make it a way of life and not an occasional goal. A person with a spirit of excellence never looks at the task and then decides if it’s worthy of excellence.

Studies have shown that to achieve excellence in anything commonly requires approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated practice over ten years. The word ‘arête’ is French, meaning, “having the edge.” The ancient Greeks used it to describe the act of living up to your potential.

Mark 7:37 says, “He (Jesus) has done all things well.” The context of this verse refers to his healing ministry. However, I believe it described everything he did. I believe he worked in his Father’s carpenter shop with the same spirit of excellence.

Great leaders know it’s not the greatness of the task that makes a leader stand out, but it’s doing every task with greatness that separates the great leaders from the good and average.

What average task will you do this week with greatness? What person who feels average will feel great because of their association with you? My friend, that’s what real leadership is all about.