Your Intention sucks and it’s driving you away from Excellence!

I was sitting with a friend listening to him prattle on about his overly hostile relationship with his wife.  My mind wandered all over the place. I struggled to even care about anything being said, so listening was an even greater challenge.  I have heard this same story from him over and over again.  

All of the sudden I was struck by the idea that I was clueless to what his intention and what my intention was at that very moment.  I ask him, “What is your intention in telling me all of this?”  He looked at me puzzled.  “I don’t really know,” he replied.

So I began rapidly spitting questions at him:

  • Is your intention to vent?
  • Is your intention to seek my opinion?
  • Is your intention to seek commiseration?
  • Is your intention to gain sympathy?
  • Is your intention to find solutions?
  • Do you have any intention of doing something about your marriage?

I could see the strain of thought as he processed my inquisition.

My mind had been wandering and quite frankly a was annoyed because, I had no idea what my intention was in listening to him.  I didn’t know what to focus on.

I needed to know his intentions in order to understand what my intention should be. He finally shared that what he really wanted to do was vent but maybe he should change his intention.  This was the epiphany.

In order to obtain Excellence, you have to get intentional about EVERYTHING!

I started to ask myself in everything I did, “What is my intention here?”

  • When I sat down in front of the TV, I asked, “What is my intention?”
  • When I sat at my desk preparing for the following day, I asked, “What is my intention?”
  • When I walked into the room where my kids were, I asked, “What is my intention?”

All of the sudden I’m getting far more intentional with everything I’m doing. I’m also moving more quickly toward Excellence than ever before. Go be intentional! I would love to hear your thoughts.


Excellence in Love is my toughest Voyage

So picture you have been sent back in time for a specific mission. A wonderful time early in the century. Your mission is to board an iconic cruise ship and enjoy every luxury. As you board this ship with all the pomp and circumstance, you see the ship’s name emblazoned on a life preserver, RMS Titanic.

This describes the story of my search for Excellence in love. The first woman I ever loved told me she had never loved someone more than me. I responded with all my heart, those coveted words, “I love you.” She left that very day, and I never spoke to her again.

The second woman I told those words cornered me in a moment of weakness. She said those words and after over a year of dating, I felt I had to say it back. It would take me on a long twenty year journey of struggles.

The third woman I told those words, cringed like she had just witnessed a fatal accident. The results of this endeavor is still pending.

What do you do when you’re madly in love with a woman who probably doesn’t love you back? What do you do when you’re head over heals in love with a woman who probably loves another man? How do you keep pursing the woman you love when she can’t even tell you she cares for you? How do you pursue Excellence in love when love seems to escape you at every turn?

I think Excellence in love is a better topic for future date. I would appreciate your thoughts.

The Process of Excellence

I have been focusing on Excellence for two months. It is exhilarating, but I’ve had many setbacks. Life also gets in the way of Excellence. Focusing on the process of Excellence takes cutting out all the noise to get to the core of its existence. The steps are simple, but the accomplishment is difficult.

The Plan

Excellence starts with a good plan. It doesn’t have to be great, but it needs to be well thought out and easily understood.

Discipline

You need discipline to stick to the plan and discipline to execute the plan. You need something that acts as a constant reminder to the plan. You need a symbol that helps you overcome the constant battle of discipline.

Execution

Then you execute the plan. This is not easy and without constant discipline then the plan is tossed out frequently. When your lack of discipline infiltrates your focus, you need the grit to get back to the plan as quickly as possible.

Flexibility to Revise the Plan

Once you are in the battle of the plan, you must stay flexible enough to change when the plan is not working. Too much rigidity prevents you from overcoming the lost battles of discipline.

These thoughts may seem simple, but I will be exploring these throughout the rest of this year. I would love your thoughts.

I Hate the People at the Gym the 1st Two Weeks of a New Year! (Including Myself)

CHAPTER 3

“Instead of calling my bathroom the ‘John’ I call it the ‘Jim’. That way it sounds better when I say, ‘I go to the Jim first thing every morning.'” Unknown

It’s early in the year, so I was to tackle what should be an easier topic.

How does a common person like me achieve Excellence in their health and fitness? I don’t want to look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Here’s what happens. At the first of the year all of the people who set New Year resolutions start flooding the gym. There I am fighting over a pull down machine with three guys who hadn’t seen the inside of a gym since last January.

Strava, a social network for athletes, analyzed more than 31 million online activities last year and found that January 12 is the day most resolutions start imploding. (Insert sarcastic tone here.) By week three none of us are at the gym anymore so the fight for machines is over. We should all exchange phone numbers, so next January we can coordinate our failed resolutions better.

Now you know why I hate myself so much. I’m not a big fan of eating right and working out. It gets in my way of my over indulgence and laziness.

What do I need to do differently this year to change the pattern of failure and put me on my path to excellence? I’m going to try changing my behaviors and how I measure success.

I created nine fitness markers to identify if I’m reaching Excellence in my Fitness. These include:

  • pushups
  • pull-ups
  • squats
  • benchpress
  • shoulder presses
  • plank

Last Friday I did each of these exercises with a strenuous weight to see how many I could do consecutively to failure. I wrote each of these numbers down. I will measure myself again in two months to see how much I improved. I have not set a target goal yet, and I may not. My only goal is to improve my strength a small amount every two months.

I also decided to measure:

  • My waist to see if it shrinks
  • How close I come to touching the floor with my fingers in a “toe touch”
  • How much I can improve on an incline run on the treadmill

This gives me a total of nine markers to see if I’m moving toward Excellence in each of these areas. For me, Excellence will not be hitting a specific number or goal, but will be determined by improving every two months.

I’m not sure if this will work, but here I go. What do you think? What am I missing? What could go wrong? What would you do differently. Let’s move toward Excellence!

I was Designed for Excellence!

CHAPTER 3

Everyone says they want Excellence but few will commit to attaining it! It’s elusive. You must want it bad. I believe we were designed for Excellence, but we often choose an easier less risky path.

It reminds me of a famous story.

A man once approached Socrates and asked the philosopher how he could acquire Excellence. He walked with the young man down to the sea. The man followed as Socrates began wading into the water until the water rose to their shoulders.

Without warning, Socrates grabbed the young man and pushed his head under the water. The man flailed desperately and just before he blacked-out, Socrates pulled him up. The man incensed screamed at Socrates, “Why are you trying to kill me?”

Socrates politely responded, “If that was my intention, I would not have let you up.”

“Then why did you do that?” exclaimed the man.

Socrates peered intensely into the man’s eyes, “When you desire Excellence as badly as you desire a breath of air, then you shall have it,” He turned and walked away.

How do I maintain the motivation all year long to achieve Excellence? How do I keep wanting Excellence as much as I want air?

If it’s true and we were designed for Excellence, then it’s just a matter of execution. I’ve decided to define what Excellence looks like in my life in the following categories:

  • Health
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Relationships
  • Business/Career

This is where I’m going to start. I need your help in defining Excellence in these areas. If 2019 ended and I achieved Excellence in each of these five areas, what does that look like? What have I accomplished? Does Excellence mean I can’t get any better?

My problem is I have more questions than answers. Where is my help?

How can I remain Motivated to seek Excellence for an entire Year???

CHAPTER 1

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”  Aristotle

I wake up in sheer panic. I dreamt a horrible nightmare.  Men were trying to kill me and the woman I love betrayed me.  I remember her saying, “I’ve been using you this whole time.”  It’s silly, but I find myself slightly irritated with her even though she’s oblivious to the morning’s cruel ruse.  This is not how I wanted to start my first chapter.  I hope this is not foreshadowing on what’s to come.

I’m the only one awake, so the house is quiet.  It’s about 6:45 in the morning I’m excited. I’m motivated. WHY CAN’T I BOTTLE THIS FEELING!!! I’d be a billionaire. How do I keep this up day after day?

I read an article on Forbes online by Kristi Hedges, where she states, 

“Excellence starts with getting very clear on the end state you wish to achieve (winning) and relentlessly driving towards it every day. Excellence requires knowing when to push on (even when you don’t have all the information or the perfect solution), but doing it well and constantly refining as you forge ahead. Excellence means accepting only the best, and understanding that when it is not given that you, as the leader, are at least partly responsible. Excellence reveals itself in the language you use, the questions you ask, the people you surround yourself with, and how you interact with others.”


I found her words helpful.  This has inspired me. Today’s objective is to define what questions need to be answered this year to understand and achieve Excellence in my life. Here are my first thoughts…

  • How do I define Excellence in my life in the areas of my Health, my business, my relationships, my spiritual growth, my personal Growth, my finances, my leadership, my fun, my purpose and love (which I hate to even think about)?
  • How do I measure these areas, or do I?
  • Does every area I mentioned require measurement?
  • Did I miss any important areas?
  • Can I ever achieve Excellence, or is it fleeting as I must constantly strive for even more?
  • Can I have Excellence in all of these areas at once or is it just too much?
  • Do I persona.l.y have a fraction of the discipline I need to attempt this?

Anxiety creeps in my mind.  It’s already appearing more daunting than expected, and IT’S THE FIRST DAY! 

I need your help. Are these the right questions??? Am I on the right track? It’s all so confusing.

The Ball Drops and the Quest for Excellence Begins!

I stand silently, my stomach in knots.  I’m sickened with the feeling of being alone on a desolate island. It’s twelve midnight.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m standing in the middle of a pretentious and loud New Year’s Eve party.  How can someone be so alone in a sea of people? The music thumps vibrating my ears while wealthy partiers and the many want-to-be’s mingle around pretend gaming tables.  

I’m sporting a new suit that would make James Bond envious.  The vodka has been flowing but unbeknownst to anyone, an hour ago I switched to soda water with an accompanying lime.  As tradition dictates, I should be half-heartedly kissing my long-time companion to feign love But I’m not.  My friends around me think they see happiness and joy but the hidden reality is my heart yearns for another.

Love has always eluded me.  I once loved a woman so deeply if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d rewrite Romeo and Juliet to mirror our story.  She is long gone, and her memory seems like ten lifetimes ago.  To find Excellence in love is my greatest challenge this year, and it’s wrought with perilous pitfalls.  It’s also where I hold the least hope because I love someone that doesn’t love me back.

I struggle to enjoy the party.  I want terribly to rush home and rest in final preparation for the next 365 chapters of this new year, but that’s not feasible without being rude to my friends.

I’m embroiled in this strange mixture of excitement and sadness over what’s to come. I’ve move to a balcony and stand alone outside overlooking a serene landscape that reminds me of my childhood.  With my eyes open, I silently offer a short prayer requesting wisdom to make the best decisions this year, courage to carry out those decisions and guidance in my search for Excellence. 

I’m reminded of one off my favorite quotes, 

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

Tomorrow it’s time to run.  I grow apprehensiveness at the daunting task that lay before me.  Will I quit in a couple of weeks like other projects I’ve started and failed to finish?  Will Excellence elude me leaving my only discovery to be another failure?  Will I ever find someone who loves me as much as I love them? It’s time to take my seat on life’s roller coaster and buckle up.