“Leadership Excellence. Is it a goal or way of life?”

Bill Bradley was a former three-time US Senator from NJ, Rhodes scholar at Oxford, and All-American basketball player at Princeton. He attended a summer basketball camp at age 15. While there, basketball great “Easy” McCauley told him, “If you are 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 personal excellence. What is the difference between success and excellence? Success is measured by comparing yourself with others. Excellence is determined by your efforts versus your potential.

Success is rewarded by others and comes to only a few. Excellence is available to everyone if they make it a way of life and not a goal to obtain. A person with a spirit of excellence never looks at the task and then decides if it is worthy of excellence.

Studies have shown that to achieve excellence commonly requires approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated practice over ten years. The word ‘arete’ 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. But I believe it described everything He did. I believe He worked in His Father’s carpenter shop with the same spirit of excellence to His routine tasks as He did His miracles.

Great leaders know it is not the greatness of the task that makes a leader–but it is doing every task with greatness that separates great leaders from the good and average. Are you doing your everyday tasks with excellence? If not, why not? If you do not excel at what you do as a leader, how can you expect excellence from your team?