When I was growing up we were taught work ethic. There was a certain way chores and tasks were to be done – to my parent’s specifications of course – and the only way the job was ‘done’ was when those standards were met. Every time. No matter how we felt, or the weather, or if we didn’t want to do it that day, the same standard was applied. As a kid that was more than annoying, and yet today as an adult I understand. That my be one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me, a work ethic.
As these words from Aristotle remind us, excellence is built by what we repeatedly do, which means it is a habit. Not a chance event, a good day or bad day, it is a habit. Before we know it we do what we do without even thinking, it is automatic and THAT is what builds and sustains excellence long term. Making it the standard by which all things are measured, so much so that it is obvious when it is not employed. The best way to create that standard of excellence, the habit of excellence, is to start early and employ it always.
I would ask you to take a look at your own work ethic. Where is it strong, where does it need to be improved? Where would making it a habit help relieve the pressure you put on yourself? Instead of comparing yourself to someone else and how they do it, does how you do it scream excellence? If not, maybe raise the bar and develop a stronger habit. If it does exhibit excellence, then give yourself credit for all those years of hard work and consistency and apply that same mind set, that habit to something new.
We are what we do repeatedly, so make sure your habits scream excellence! Not only on good days, or days when you feel like it, make excellence the standard by which your actions are measured. It might sound tiring, and yet redoing things, feeling bad about our output is an even higher mountain to climb than if we just do it right the first time, and every time.