If you're an avid CrossFitter and haven't read Ben Bergeron's "Chasing Excellence" I highly suggest you add it to your 2020 reading list. Even if you're not a CrossFitter, this book is worth the read. On the surface, this book is Ben's account of preparing Katrin Davidsdottir for her 2016 win at the CrossFit Games. Woven into the story, are Ben's core values for living a life of excellence.
What does it mean to live a life of excellence?
Contrary to what you might believe, excellence is not perfection. I'll say it again for the people in the back, EXCELLENCE IS NOT PERFECTION. Excellence comes from the small things you do everyday. It comes from focusing on the things you can control and letting go of the things you can't. Excellence is making choices, everyday, that contribute to you becoming the best version of yourself.
In his book, Ben uses a spectrum differentiate excellence from competence and complacency.
On the left end, Complacency is the below average side of the spectrum. People who are complacent don't care about bettering their lives. They don't think that being the best version of themselves matters.
Competence is in the middle, where most of the general population falls. They've got certain skill sets and may have already attained some small goals. They even have big goals, but often don't reach them due to the work it would take to get there. They care about bettering themselves but might feel like they are already good enough where they're at.
On the right end of the bell-curve lies Excellence. High achievers live on the excellence end of the spectrum. They are committed to the constant pursuit of being better every single day. They are obsessed with the process and in it for the long haul.
YOU should be aiming for the Excellence end of the spectrum.
The pursuit of excellence is not easy. That is why so many people end up competent, or somewhere between that and excellence. Excellence takes dedication, control, trust in the process, and so much more.
Living a life of excellence means that you are willing to do what it takes to be the absolute best version of yourself. You will take the best care of yourself. You will do the best work you can with what you have. Excellence achievers prioritize their goals in ways no one else does. They choose to sacrifice now in return for maximum rewards later.
The pursuit of excellence is never ending.
In order to achieve excellence, you must wake up everyday and decide on your behaviors. It's about being in control and being intentional with your daily choices and behaviors. Excellence is made up of the small steps, not large leaps.
I'm sure you're familiar with the term "Practice makes perfect". Each time you practice you get a little bit better at that skill. It's the same with excellence. Each small choice that you make either gets you closer or further away from your goal. You must make the conscious decision to make the right choice that gets you closer to your goal.
Living a life of excellence means fighting for success in every endeavor. It means not giving up after a setback, no matter the size. It means having laser focus on the end goal. The end goal is your dream self.
Once you've achieved one goal, a little success, you'll want more. You should want more. You should ALWAYS want to be better. If you don't, you'll end up on the competence end of the bell-curve. And that's not bad, but its not the best place to be.
How can you practice habits of excellence in your daily life?
Some of these concepts are simple, in fact, you probably already practice some of them. However, there are a few on this list that you might have to push yourself a little harder to complete. You may even have to ask yourself what your core beliefs are and admit that you migh not be right about everything you think.
You don't have time because you don't make time. You need to carve out time each day for self improvement. That's right, you are not perfect. You're unique, and special, and worthy as you are, but you are not perfect. And that's okay, we will never be perfect but we must improve ourselves if we want to be excellent.
Wake up early to make time for a workout. Start your day moving your body. I promise you will feel better.
Eat breakfast. None of that intermittent fasting bullshit. You are not choosing to fast, you are choosing to not make time for a healthy breakfast in the mornings.
Take a class or read that book that you've always wanted to. Just because you work a lot right now doesn't mean you will have to forever. Make some time to pursue things you love, even if they start out as hobbies.
That's right, excellence includes kindness. You don't have to like everyone, but you need to treat everyone with respect. We all have our own struggles and you never know what someone else is going through. Quit judging them and focus on yourself. Fix your attitude towards them.
Give Your Best Effort
Anytime you are completing a task for someone else, and for yourself, give your best effort. Don't half ass something just because you don't want to be doing it. Instead, give it 100% of your attention and effort. (hint: you'll finish faster and be satisfied).
Never Give Up
This last one speaks for itself. No matter what, don't give up. When you face struggles don't let them take away your focus. Face them head on, move past them, and keep working towards your ultimate goal.
A better YOU. Your dream self. The life you want to live.