The worst thing in the world you can be is average. In the United States of America, we dream big, but commonly fall very short on to a bed of complacency. If you value yourself, your intelligence, and your potential, you must diligently work aggressively towards honing your talent, gift, skill, interest, and passion(s). Without planning, practice, and execution, your dream will never be realized. Eventually, when you are of old age, you will look back with a surplus of regrets.
As a Milwaukee native, I always loved the Milwaukee Bucks and the Green Bay Packers. During my adolescence, the Bucks were good for a short number of years under George Karl as Sam Cassell, Ray Allen, Glen "Big Dog" Robinson formed a "big three." Outside of that brief period of time, the Bucks sucked. They have flirted with the playoffs a few times since, being bounced out of the first round each season or barely missing the eighth seed. The organization is average. They spend a lot of money on players and remain consistently average. Always in the middle of the pack, where they do not qualify for a top lottery franchise-changing draft pick. So at the end of every season, they find themselves overpaying for B-level players and trying again, only to fail again.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers produce great results every year including championships (greatness). From the executive level down to the worker bees, the Green Bay Packers emphasize faith, consistency, and hard work. They do not overpay free agents to come to Green Bay. Green Bay is a boring city with low-crime, strong family values, and a die-hard football fan base. There are no great malls, night clubs, or celebrities in the city. The Packers attract great talent solely on their history of high expectations and hard work. The organization demands excellence from individual players. They focus towards collective goals.
Using the two aforementioned examples, I recognized clearly at an early age what it took to be above average. In my banking career, I was above average. In my customer service experiences, I performed above average despite having a temper problem as I wrote about in How I Know God Exists. In my brief teaching career, I performed above average as I motivated my students to academically and behaviorally grow in less than two years of instruction. Anything I do, I refuse to be average. When I completed my master's degree from the University of Memphis in teaching, I did it with a 3.58 GPA in 18 months time. If I hadn't taken a unnecessary counseling class (I was experimenting with the idea of gaining a Ed.S in counseling from the U. of Memphis), I would have easily graduated with a 3.8 GPA(I clashed with the superfluous work and attitude of my online professor resulting in my lethargic effort and her repaying me with a "C"). As I prepare two e-books, Domestic Violence: When will IT stop and My Flexibility Manifesto: Following My Passion to Success, I am working diligently to make certain that my books are of a very high quality contextually and visually. Any music I release as an underground hip-hop emcee and poet will be of great writing, music production, and marketing. From the meals I cook my family to the clothes I purchase, everything I do is high quality.
Now if everything you do is above average, does that mean you cannot make errors or fail? Of course, you will make errors. You will produce average and sometimes below average products, writings, services, etc. But the art and science behind being excellent and above average is that this is a lifestyle. As an entrepreneur and consultant (you are a consultant even as an employee because you can be fired at any moment if you do not produce results), this mentality will improve your performance and businesses (I love micro-businesses). If you are genuinely about high quality, then as a business owner, you are looking at how you can add quality to your customers' lives. Customers will be drawn to you and your business if it is of a high quality. For example, as owner and operator of Wilson's Chem-Dry, I frequently wore suits during carpet and furniture cleaning. Who does that in the cleaning industry? No one. I distinguished myself from the middle of the pack. I formed a reputation of quality. That is why retail stores like Apple, Nordstrom's, Macy's (to some extent) and Bloomingdale's succeed despite charging high prices (because they offer excellent customer service, policies, shopping experiences, and high quality products). That is why I love Apple's technology, Ralph Lauren clothing, Cole Haan footwear, Diesel watches, and Kenneth Cole suits. Those products are of high quality, thus cost is a small factor for me as a consumer when I decide to continuously purchase these products. The benefits these products offer are greater than costs.
If you want average, you buy a Chevy Cobalt. If you demand above average, you buy a Volkswagen Jetta (I miss my Jetta). If you desire excellence, you buy a Mercedes Benz. Here are important points to remember from this article:
- Stop settling. Being complacent is for losers. Demand excellence from yourself, your business, your job, and your lifestyle.
- Be petty. Whether its the texture of the bristles on your toothbrush or the micro beads in your soap bar, focus on living a life of high quality. When this becomes your normal way of living, you will expect more and demand more in your professional life.
- Be less like the Milwaukee Bucks and be more like the Green Bay Packers. Structure your business (micro-business, self-employment, etc.) to a culture of quality. Being average will not do. Give your customers quality, and add more quality to that. Be the carpet cleaning entrepreneur in an European cut business suit. In the words of my favorite lyricist.....
"Why try to fit in when you're a stand out...." --Joe Budden, hip-hop lyricist