Here’s the thing with excellence, it’s the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary.

As one person said, “There’s not a lot different between ordinary and extra-ordinary, but there is something extra.” It’s the 13th donut in a bakers dozen. It’s the white table cloths or complimentary tea at a restaurant. It’s running your cables straight or the smile of welcome at the door. We always notice when someone gives us their EXTRA.

What’s the difference between perfection and excellence? Think middle school band class.

Excellence is not perfection. Rather, excellence is the pursuit of being the best version of you. 


This last week I spent time reading through Ted W. Engstrom’s little book entitled, “The Pursuit of Excellence.” It is not a particularly weighty or long read but it is packed with rich life experience that, if you want it, could get you going in a direction that will change how you face challenges in your life.

As I dug into Engstrom’s thoughts on excellence I could see that he does not consider himself to be particularly gifted and yet he became the President of World Vision (an international relief organization), wrote over 20 books and hundreds of articles. His secret to success is linked with his commitment to excellence. He knew what kind of man he wanted to be and then he endeavoured, DAILY, to become that man. Though he wanted to be a people and business manager, he recognized that he first needed to become a manager of Ted Engstrom.
He strove to:

  • Get better daily. Put in the extra work to be extra-ordinary. Often it was just 5 minutes more!
  • Become excellent in a particular direction. Rather than running after 5, 10 or 100 things to be good at, he became an excellent manager.
  • Be exceptional. He could see that very few people strive for excellence. Good enough doesn’t get you noticed.

And he found that people who pursue excellence do get noticed.

John Maxwell once told me, “People don’t pay for average.” Figure out how to become an 8/10 or at least figure out what you could be an 8/10 in and pursue excellence in that area. People will pay for that!

Next post I’ll share with you Engstrom’s 5 point plan for becoming a person of excellence.

In the mean time, do you know what you could be world class at? Is there something that with just 5 more minutes, every day, that you could become noticeably excellent?

  • 5 minutes of listening to your child.
  • 5 minutes to pick up flowers for your wife.
  • 5 minutes to write a thank you note.
  • 5 minutes to sit quietly and reflect without your screen or noise.
  • 5 minutes to read an ancient or inspirational text at bedtime (or in the morning).
  • 5 minutes to encourage someone who looks sad.
  • 5 minutes to …

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