We have, as a country, elected as our President a man who is committed to being all that he can be – as a father, as a husband, as a citizen, as a governmental representative, and as a human being. And he is also asking us, as individuals, to rise up and do the same in our own lives – to make a difference wherever and however we can.
In his own words, “We need to internationalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”
I’m going to be so bold as to slightly modify this powerful statement for the purpose of this discussion and say, “We need to INTERNALIZE this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”
What does it mean to internalize the “idea of excellence”? In order to internationalize the idea of excellence, we need to internalize it. One way to better understand what this means is to ask ourselves what is at stake if we don’t strive for excellence. If we’re not striving to be the best version of who we can be, we are settling – not only as Americans, but as human beings. We are essentially saying to ourselves, and to those around us, that we are not important enough to live the best life possible and live a life we love.
Barack Obama did not win this election on his words alone – it was his actions and who he was being that clinched it for many of us – as opposed to his opponent who had resorted to such hostile tactics as antagonism, mockery, finger-pointing, and fear-based accusations, Obama remained committed to a way of being, based on his values and his Vision, never wavering, regardless of whatever challenges beset him – and there were, are, and will be, many.
What a challenge he is giving each and every one of us and, true to form, he is living his version of excellence – how are you living yours?
Two things you can do to bring more excellence into your life:
1. Obama has reminded us that “anything’s possible” – what’s possible in your life? What can you imagine having more of? What would give you more true fulfillment and joy? What would bring more peace in your mind and love in your heart? What would bring more harmony to your relationships? What would leave you feeling more connected to your dreams and goals?
Knowing what’s possible for yourself and your life is the start of becoming who you really are and having what you want, which frees you to be able to live a life you LOVE. Otherwise, you are just trapped in trying to look good and fitting in, never getting what you really want and likely never even finding out what that is.
2. Take a look at your daily habits, beliefs, and attitudes to determine whether they are fanning the flames of excellence or separating you from yourself and others and thereby draining you of your life force.
However we see things is how they are. It’s that simple – if you see the world as unfair, hostile, and withholding then that is what you will get. If you see life as an exciting adventure filled with endless opportunities to be kind, loving, compassionate, and understanding then you will enjoy a life filled with never-ending joy, goodness, and love.
We are the sum total of our daily habits so you want to get honest with yourself about what habits, in thought and deed, serve your highest good and which ones are getting in the way of you having what you want. Thinking, “It’s always been this way and there’s nothing I can do about it”, conveniently keeps you from having to do what it takes to get the results you want.
When you don’t follow through on the commitments you make you are communicating to yourself that you cannot be counted on to do what you said you were going to do. This causes a breakdown in trust with yourself and, if trustworthiness is an important value for you, you will be leery of any promises you make, to yourself or to others.
Instead, ask yourself, each day, “knowing how important it is that I treat myself with the love, care, and respect that I so often expect from others, what can I do today, to feel loved, cared for, and respected.” And then do it! And, when you don’t, simply notice and acknowledge having fallen short of your best intentions, remind yourself that you’re human, make any reparations necessary to restore your word, and then let it go, knowing that, if you’re lucky, you will have many more opportunities to be the person you are becoming.
Do this for a week and email me what you notice. And, don’t forget to have FUN while doing it!
And, once again, to alter the words of another great leader of our time, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for you”. By putting our attention on how our thoughts, beliefs, and actions affect the quality of our daily lives, we are conveying to the world that we care about all of humanity.
President-elect Obama will be calling on all of us to join him in his Presidency to make “being excellent” a priority. How excellent of us that, as a nation, we elected a President whose values reflect that of someone who chooses, every day, to, in the words of John Quincy Adams, “dream more, learn more, do more, and become more” and, in doing so, he inspires all of us to do the same!
Feel free to get in touch with me to find out more about what coaching is. And please share this article with everyone you know – let them know about what’s possible for them and how they can get it!