Before I begin let me clarify what I actually mean by personal excellence.
To me, it’s about showing up every single day being the best version of you. It’s about being committed to achieving greatness in your field of endeavour, whatever that may be. It’s about investing your time every day to raise your personal standards and chase perfection, even though perfection isn’t truly attainable, you may just catch excellence on the way.
Sounds great in theory but how do you put this into practice? How do you set your standards of personal excellence, so you are being the best version of you every day? How do you get your team to set their standards of personal excellence, so they are being the best version of themselves?
I’ve spent two decades coaching and mentoring business leaders, managers, owners and entrepreneurs and my first question is always ‘where are you setting your bar personally and professionally?’ This simple question often results in an awkward silence so, to bring it to life, I use an exercise called Raising the Bar.
The exercise begins with me asking the individual to pick up an imaginary bar and hold it above their head at 6ft in the air. I then ask them to write down 3 easy strategies to get over the 6ft bar. Answers always include pole jumping, standing on a chair, leap frogging – you name it, I’ve heard it!
Now I ask the individual to raise the same bar so it’s 100ft in the air and write down 5 strategies to get over the 100ft bar. This is where the answers get creative…build a wall, hire a crane, shoot yourself out of a cannon, honestly, I’ve heard this one!
Then I close out the exercise by asking will the strategies to get you over the 6ft bar get you over the 100ft bar? Obviously, no. Will the strategies that get you over the 100ft bar get you over the 6ft bar? Yes, absolutely, every day of the week.
At the 6ft bar we’re thinking from a narrow tunnel perspective, doing just enough to hit the mark, no more and no less. However, at the 100ft bar we’re thinking from a wide funnel perspective, stretching our minds as to the sense of possibilities and the opportunities open to us in both our personal and professional life. As Michelangelo famously said… “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.”
The purpose of the exercise has absolutely nothing to do with the complexity or cost of the ideas and strategies put forward. It has everything to do with the level of thinking that goes into the input bowl. We have 100% control over how we choose it think. It’s a choice. Change your thinking and you change the game.
So, my question to you or your team member is this… ‘where are you setting your bar personally and professionally?’ Is YOUR bar set at 6ft and therefore you’re having 6ft thoughts or is it set at 100ft and you’re having 100ft thoughts?
Think of it this way: if you aim for 6ft in life, personally or professionally, where are you likely to get to? 4 ft? 8ft? … somewhere around 6ft, that’s for sure. But if you aim for 100ft, where are you likely to get to? 30ft? 64ft? 82ft? One thing’s for sure: you’ll be above 6ft.
Royston Guest is a global authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. He is CEO of Pti-Worldwide, author of #1 best-selling business growth book, Built to Grow and founder of livingyourfuture™. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Connect with him on LinkedIn or check out his weekly blog at https://www.roystonguest.com/blog