In the past two blog posts, I’ve explored the concept of professional excellence and how it differs from both perfectionism and carelessness. I hope you agree that excellence provides a standard that is both motivating and compassionate.
So, how do we get started?
First, we accept that achieving excellence will be a process, not an instant remedy. Perfectionism and carelessness are habitual behaviors deeply ingrained in how one thinks and operates. They both stem from fear and insecurity, and they’re not going to give up without a fight.
Embracing a standard of excellence means committing to a series of small steps and decisions -- a practice, in other words -- that lead to better habits. It also includes a willingness to face our fears, listen to our instincts, and trust ourselves.
If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “sounds great, but what exactly do I DO?” I’m glad you asked!
I’d like to introduce you to my new blog series, Practicing Professional Excellence, in which I’ll offer you powerful and practical tips and reflections for finding the sweet spot of excellence that will have you feeling satisfied and energized at the end of every work day.
Let's get started...
Practicing Professional Excellence: Remind yourself of the scope of work.
If my boss asks me for a summary of a topic by the end of the day, that’s different from her asking me for an in-depth analysis of the same topic due in a month. There always more that could be done, but is the additional time and effort warranted for this particular task?
The first step is knowing your patterns.
Can you think of any times when you felt compelled to overthink, overanalyze, and over prepare a project or task, when anxiety or self-doubt led you to work on it well past the point where it met its requirements?
And can you think of any times when fatigue, resentment, or nerves led you to say “screw it; I’m done,” when it wasn’t quite ready yet? Times when, after completing a task you found yourself either drowning in self-recriminations or listing all the reasons why delivering less than your best was not your fault?
Pondering these questions takes courage and self-awareness. The answers help us recognize what kinds of situations trigger stress for us and which emotions drive our responses to this stress.
Did you think of any examples for either or both of the above questions? Please share!
Until next time...
Your partner in the journey toward excellence,