Bill Bradley, former three-time US 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 your 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. However, 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. It’s the leader who makes every task worthy of his or her best effort.

Studies have shown that to achieve excellence commonly requires approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated practice over 10 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.

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

It’s doing the unseen and mundane with excellence that sets you up for the opportunity to do the visible that will determine the width and depth of your leadership influence.