As I’ve reflected on 2015 and all the great things that have happened in our family and the organization I work for, my heart is filled with gratitude for all that has been accomplished. For my family it means that my marriage is stronger and my relationship with my adult kids has strengthened. In my organization it means lives have been impacted positively; for some it has been transformational. Although I am grateful, I am also challenged, wondering how much more could have happened with a few simple adjustments. . Each of us needs to not only reflect and appreciate, but also to assess and adjust. In so doing, I have begun to see a pattern in my own life that I need to examine.
Sometimes when we have had a measure of success in our relationships, and as things become familiar, we tend to do things ‘good enough.’ We drift into mediocrity. The way to keep mediocrity from creeping into our relationships is to choose excellence in all we do. So for 2016, I declared it would be ‘A Year of Excellence’ in my life and in the life of our organization.
Excellence is not perfection; it is doing your best with what you have. It is being intentional rather than continuing in mindless routine. It is choosing to improve.
What would happen in our families, workplace and communities if we decided to treat our relationships with excellence? To be intentionally excellent in relating to our family, friends and coworkers would bring an increase in the closeness we would experience. Imagine the impact this could have on our lives!
What is the Road to Excellence, and how do I get there?
I am glad you asked. First and foremost, you need to have a conviction that relationships are one of the most important things in your life. Secondly, apply the 1% rule, which is to begin that change with a 1% adjustment. If you try for a goal of change that is too large and you fail, it is much easier to give up. Instead, commit to changing in 1% increments so that each success inspires more success and you keep going.
In light of that, here are my five P’s of starting on the Road to Excellence:
- Purpose – Decide that your relationships deserve excellence and then purpose to bring it into every area of your life. A strong conviction can help you press on when opposition knocks at your door.
- Preparation – You may have to remove obstacles and distractions in your life. For example, if you want to be more excellent as a parent, you may need to make the hard decision to not bring work home with you. Also, clutter in our lives can keep us from excellence because it steals our focus. If we don’t focus on our relationships, they won’t grow.
- Participate – I have a concept I call ‘the power of presence’. Fifty percent of excellence is showing up, being involved. If you commit to doing something, do it. Be present and ready to contribute. Let your yes be yes.
- Presentation – How you present something says a lot about how much you care about it. What people see tells them a lot about what you value. This applies to personal relationships. The simplest expressions of gratitude can be found in how much effort goes into the presentation. Does it say you care, that you value the relationship? That is evidence of excellence,
- Perspiration – When you feel like it is just too hard to be excellent and you have hit a wall, give it one more try. Nothing worth achieving is free; it always has a cost. It takes work, sweat equity, to build a meaningful life.
As I have started on the Road to Excellence, something remarkable has happened. It has inspired those I lead to join me on the road. I have seen my excellence improve in every area of my life. I find myself doing little things I might not have done before and it has added so much quality to my expressions of love and the value I place on those I love.
Are you ready to bring excellence to your relationships? Are you ready to start down the Road to Excellence? I hope so. Go for it, and let us know how it is impacting you and those around you. In the coming weeks, I will be writing a series on the subject. Until then remember that Relationship Matters.