Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how “you are always practicing something…” I’ll tell you what I mean. I have a teenage neighbor who comes over and helps me on a regular basis. He’s dating now, so the motivation to make some cash is strong with him! And, I notice that when he doesn’t like what he’s doing he doesn’t really do a great, thorough job. When he likes it, he does a much better job. I understand that. And, it also makes me think about the fact that you’re always practicing something! Are you practicing being excellent, or are you practicing being shoddy? It’s one or the other in everything you do. As a leader, as a public speaker, as a husband, friend, even when you’re just cleaning up around the house.
That realization has gotten me inspired to take on being excellent everywhere, even in the things that I’m not so excited to be doing. Practicing excellence over and over in everything I do is just much more interesting than letting some things be shoddy. At times it’s more work, but it’s actually more fun and fulfilling, too! As my father, the Marine Corp. Captain, used to ask me: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you find time to do it again?” Funny how the things that my parents used to annoy the heck out of me with turned into sayings by which I strive to live!
I once heard a story about a desk maker who did excellent work. And, he would put a lovely, hand-carved seal on the bottom of every desk where no one could see it unless they got on their backs, laid under the desk and opened the drawer all the way. That story inspired me because the desk maker knew that fine detail was there, even if very few others did. And, I’m sure people recognized that he did excellent work just from the way he stood and talked, because of it, even if they didn’t ever know why.
I’m inspired by the people I know who are true to themselves in this manner. They bring excellence to everything they do, not because of some external promise or pressure, but for themselves. Does it mean everything they do is perfect? NO! As Zig Ziglar says: “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly! UNTIL, you can do it well!” Excellence in attitude will sooner or later bring excellence in results. And, remember, you’re always practicing something! What will you practice today?