No one wakes up one day and becomes instantly exceptional.
To get amazing at something, it’s not enough to just wish that you were better at it, or even to make really serious efforts every now and again. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” This means you have to make it part of your life, to act the way an exceptional person would act again and again.
Think about it this way — if you decide to start running, the first couple times you do it you’re probably going to be terrible at it. If you thought to yourself “Well, that’s that then. Guess I’m not meant to be a runner”, then you’ll never get better. But if you stick with it and practice consistently, you’ll eventually become good, even great at it. One thing is for sure, at least from my experience, you’ll certainly be able to run further and faster.
Likewise, if you want to run an exceptional business, then you need to make sure that you act the way an exceptional business owner acts over and over again, in everything from answering emails to planning your sales funnel.
Make it automatic
The best way to make your exceptional actions a part of your day to day life are to build habits and systems around them. This is because that takes the choice and a large part of the mental effort out of doing it, which means that you’ll be much more likely to stick with your actions.
How can you make your actions automatic? Let’s take the case of running again as an example. If you were just starting out, you would need to create a system so that you wouldn’t stop when it gets hard. For instance,
you could lay out your running clothes the night before, have a breakfast in the fridge for when you get back, and tell a lot of people what you’re was doing so you have accountability. So take a few minutes and ask yourself “How can I make excellence a habit in my business? In my life?”
Caveat 1: Don’t mistake effort for progress
There are two really important caveats here — just because you’re doing a lot of work on something doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily making a lot of progress. So make sure that you’re really concentrating on those actions that are going to give you the biggest payback.
Caveat 2: Choose your exceptionality carefully
Be careful about what you choose to become exceptional at, and make sure it’s something that you really want. For instance, you could become an amazing chef … but if you’re interested in being a bookkeeper then that’s not going to do you much good. You don’t have to do something just because you’re good at it or have a natural talent for it. Your time and energy are precious, so invest them wisely!
OK, your turn: what are you going to become exceptional at? And what’s your first step in getting there?
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