Blogs van John

John Greijmans is interimmanager en consultant. 

The Drive for Personal Excellence

Excellence is being good at a good thing. It means that you strive to be the best you can be and to do the best you can do. In short, personal excellence means striving to become the best possible expression of who we are. But how do we create personal excellence?

There are patterns in our behavior that link up successes. When you act in accordance with these, you will experience excellence in whatever you do. Following principles will go a long way in bringing you to excellence. These tenets are not based on an overall comprehensive theoretical concept. I have gathered them from my own experiences as well as ideas from others. Feel free to add your own.

Do Not Settle for Mediocrity

Personal excellence is not about showing off or beating competition. It is about having high standards and a healthy sense of self-esteem. It is a personal commitment to become the best you can possibly be. It liberates you from the crowded field of mediocrity and allows you to stand out. No one has ever achieved excellence by exhibiting mediocre behavior.

You need to want to achieve excellence. If you do not want the goal badly enough, it does not matter what you try to do, since the drive is not there to keep you moving forward. Therefore, always make sure you aim for the best in whatever you set yourself to do. Personal excellence creates a sense of freedom, security and peace of mind. It enables you to follow your dreams, to use your life the way you choose, and to live and work on your own terms. It also allows you to inspire and help others. 

Even if it seems like an accident, you are responsible for everything that happens to you. If you are not getting what you want, it is because you are not taking full responsibility to educate yourself or work hard to achieve it. So, ask yourself, will you be responsible or will you take the easy way out and settle for less then you are worth? 

Learn from the Best

The persons you socialize with now, will affect the person that you will become. Associating with people who are committed to excellence, will make you a different person compared to if you hang around people who are bored and lamenting about life. Cut yourself loose from people who do not support you and increase your contact with the people who do. Above all, connect yourself with the best. What is it you are working on? Who are the people who are the best in this area? What are the results they have achieved? Set your targets to the same level as their best results, or even higher if you are feeling up to it. 

If you want success, learn from how others have achieved it and choose a similar direction and imprint it with your own style. In doing so, you will avoid making mistakes that others have made many times before. You will also learn insights that only the best can give. Choose someone as your personal hero. Anytime you are trying to solve a problem, invoke the pragmatic spirit of that person to guide you.  

If you do not want the goal badly enough, it does not matter what you try to do, since the drive is not there to keep you moving forward. 


Believe in Yourself

Self-belief is key to every success. If you do not believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to do that? If you want to achieve excellence, you first have to believe that you are capable of doing it. What your mind can conceive, it can achieve. If you experience low self-belief, look back at the times when you have achieved something. From there, build up your confidence and leverage it as you pursue your goals. As you begin to see results, your confidence will increase over time. 

You know everything about yourself: your strengths, your weaknesses, your successes and your failures. All you know about others is what they have chosen to show you, typically these are their successes. List everything good about yourself and say, look at all I have learned and achieved. You will feel good and be prepared for whatever challenge the world presents to you. 

If you want success, learn from how others have achieved it and choose a similar direction and imprint it with your own style.


Achieve Challenging Goals

Every goal needs a strategy and plan for it to be achieved. Setting a goal and not following through with planning is like driving a car without knowing how to get there or even having a driving license. Devise your strategy, create a robust plan, execute it and review. 

Do not set yourself the normal, standard goals which you know you will achieve. Challenge yourself and set goals which make you feel uncomfortable on whether it is possible to attain them. These are the goals which will make you stretch yourself, and beam with a lot of satisfaction when you do achieve them. Even if you do not succeed, the important thing to realize is that you have grown a lot more than if you set insignificant goals and achieved them.  

Leave your Comfort Zone

When you are out of your comfort zone, you are already growing. When you stay in an area of comfort, you subject yourself to things you have become accustomed to, which leads to little or no growth. If you however move beyond that area, this new context triggers off a process in your mind as you adapt to it. This means growth. 

Ask questions

How many times have you missed an opportunity, created a misunderstanding or just got it wrong because you presumed you knew what someone meant or was thinking Therefore, do not presume, and ask!

All you know about others is what they choose to show you, typically these are their successes.


Develop Your Skills

The path to excellence is a continual one and requires constant upgrading and development of skills. No matter how much time and effort you have already spent in developing ourselves, there are always opportunities to improve. With every success, comes hard work. Without hard work, you cannot achieve results. Hard work is the universal quality that will pay off in the long-term. Once you invest the due time and effort, results will start coming in. 

Focus your Efforts

Focus your efforts in the areas which bring you the most results. Keep the pareto principle in mind, which states that 20% of causes lead to 80% of effects. Before taking an action, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Why are you doing it? This will enable you to focus when doing something. It also helps to stop doing stuff that is irrelevant or opposed to your goals. 

Learn a method of meditation. The objectivity and clarity of mind produced will help in all aspects of your life. If you are not getting what you want, then maybe you are looking in the wrong place. This adage will help you to see things objectively, take responsibility and move on. Having a weekly review is a powerful way to focus attention, realign priorities and ensure you are making progress towards your goals.  

Do not spend too much time planning or perfecting your work beyond what is required. Endless planning or revising is an excuse to procrastinate while feeling like you are doing a lot of work. When the job is done, get someone else to check it. If they say it is good enough, do not waste time trying to make it even better. 

Even if you do not succeed, the important thing is that you have grown more than if you set insignificant goals and achieved them.


Be Adaptable

Change is inevitable. You can either shy away when faced with change or learn to deal with it, and even turn it into your favor. Be ready for change at all times and welcome it. This also applies to changing your plans. Do not overly attach yourself to plans and be prepared to alter them where needed. In general, accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.  

Never give up.

There is no failure except in no longer trying. Defeat only occurs when you accept it as such. If a problem is too big to manage, break it down into smaller pieces. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually achieve your goal and achieve personal excellence 

John Greijmans

Rotterdam, July 2021