Vivid Views is my series of articles, blog posts and press releases show-casing my work as an author and reflecting my many years in business and self-employment. They are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.
My hope is that in them you find enlightenment and inspiration. 'Working On Excellence' is the 20th in the series.
Knowing that I had given up competitive sport many years previously, my near neighbour asked me, “Why then did I continue to run full blast each day up and down the mountain track behind our homes?”
My answer was crisp and clear. “Two reasons. Secondly, if I don't run up it today, I won't be able to run up it tomorrow.” I paused to let that sink in.
“So it's kind of self-regenerating then?” he eventually queried, then continued, “What's the first reason?”
“The first reason,” I shot back confidently, “Is that today is the only day that I have to do it.”
“What about tomorrow?” he immediately countered with a sly grin.
“Tomorrow,” I said, “Will be today when it comes. But for now I only have today, so I must give it my best shot. That's what it's all about you know, giving it your best shot. Whatever your endeavour, pursuit or goal in life, there's little point pursuing it unless you give it all you've got. Also, it's destructive to delay. You must do it now. Then, when the day ends, you know you've been the best you could be. I call it 'Working on Excellence.' “
I had my friend's attention. So I carried on.
“Most of you want to be yourselves. You want to be liked too. You want to be the guy who is always there for others, always approachable and willing to lend a helping hand. You want to be these things but it is by no means easy. Being yourself, attending to your own needs while catering for others at the same time, is often contradictory. Like so many aspects of life it has to be worked at.
Whenever you embark on an exceptional endeavour or mindfully set out to achieve a goal beyond what you have previously reached, you are 'working on excellence'. The question is – can you satisfy your own aspirations for yourself while also sharing your experience and assisting others to seek excellence too? The answer is 'Yes'. In fact the two go hand in hand.
But, while you can manage to do both, don't expect to be perfect. Work according to your physical and mental state, get used to your own capabilities and let your beneficiaries take what they get. No more, no less. Let them catch a ride on your shirt tail on the understanding that they are contributing to your effort by being there. This is key – your action must not be entirely altruistic, there must be something in it for you too. The incoming support and gratefulness must balance your expended time and energy.
While it is hard to measure the costs and returns in relationships, know that giving life energy to others is also a form of receiving energy. It is give and take within a cycle of 'working on excellence'. When you give in this way, expect a return in the form of inspiration, motivation and perspective.
The last mentioned – perspective – can be both humbling and inspiring. Realising that your struggles on the trail of life are insignificant in the big picture is an essential start point to 'working on excellence.'
My slog up the mountain track each day is in pursuit of excellence. I'll never catch it of course but I'll give it a good go. In the process I'll hopefully inspire and motivate others to give of their best right now, today. And then on tomorrow's today to do the same again.”
My friend was quiet for some time. He thought long and hard. When he broke his silence it was to say, “Can I hitch a ride on your shirt tail and run up the mountain with you tomorrow?”
“No,” I replied, “Make it today!”
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
My latest novel is 'Too Early For A Glass Of Wine?' Claim your copy by clicking on the image below.
WORKING ON EXCELLENCE is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this Vivid View and found it to be of value.
To learn more please visit me on my Author Page.
See you there! Regards, Tom.