The Pursuit of Excellence and Why It Matters

Is grit no longer celebrated in our world? In a time where affirming voices are dramatically amplified, the pursuit of excellence can feel like a lonely path.

When we take self-care too far

I can imagine how this article can tank at a time where “self-love” and “self-care” is all the rage in popular culture. I believe in self-love and self-care – just not when it skirts on the line of excessive indulgence. Pit-stops are good and important but they are only a place of transition and not a permanent destination.

In modern F1 racing, pit-stops are a critical part of any race strategy. It allows teams to change tires and refuel the car, ensuring that it can perform at its best throughout the race. In the same way, our pit-stops refuel us for even greater days ahead… but we miss the point if we make these pit-stops our permanent home.

Excellence is a mindset and a lifestyle

Steve Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – and he went on to change the world!

Excellence is the unwavering commitment to do everything to the best of our ability, without falling into the trap of perfectionism. Perfectionism suffocates, excellence inspires. Excellence draws greatness out of people.

A grace period for learning

An important aspect of striving for excellence is recognizing that mediocrity is acceptable on the journey towards greatness. In fact, it’s only to be expected. As we venture into uncharted territories and embrace new challenges, we will stumble and falter, but this is all part of the learning process. What’s important is pressing through the season of learning and developing competence. Mediocrity is part of the journey but cannot be the norm.

It is impossible until it isn’t

At the outset, excellence may seem unattainable, but history is rife with examples of how it transcended the bounds of what was once thought impossible. Running a mile in less than four minutes was once deemed impossible; even by medical professionals. That was until Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds in 1954, and utterly shattered this belief with only 0.6 of a second! His achievement inspired a new generation of athletes to go further and his record was broken just 46 days later. His excellence had power and it pushed the boundaries of human potential.

Excellence begets excellence

As professionals, we owe it to ours to be excellent. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” By consistently striving for excellence, we not only elevate our own performance but also influence those around us to raise their standards.

Excellence is not just a virtue but a competitive advantage

Leaders with a spirit of excellence naturally foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, attracting top talent and loyal customers. High standards become the norm and greatness flows out of that place into the organization’s sphere of influence.

For visionary leaders like Steve Jobs and Abraham Lincoln, excellence was not just a buzzword but a way of life. The pursuit of excellence was not an abstract ideal but a practical approach to life.

In the same way, our pursuit of excellence, with strategic pit-stops, will ensure that we leave an indelible mark on our worlds. You in?

Sincerely yours,

Stephen Le, Lead Trial Lawyer