Mediocrity is not simply laziness. It is often a result of so many distractions that we just don’t have the capacity to do any more. I recently saw a tweet by @drmikemurdock that really drives the point home: "Excellence never receives admiration from mediocrity."
To start the process of change in our lives, we may need to do some removing before we can move forward. The old saying ‘less is more’ really comes into play when we start on the road to excellence.
Some of the big distractions in our lives are idols. When I preached on this a few weeks ago, we looked at Josiah and how he had to remove the idols from the land. Only after he did that were the people able to see God clearly.
Things can become idols very quickly and often so subtly that we don’t even know we have them. They may be possessions, like recreational toys or the size of our house, how much money we make, or who we call our friends. A more difficult idol to remove is tradition. If we believe we have to only do things a certain way just because we have always done them that way, we may become bogged down on the road to excellence. This idol can actually hinder the change we desire.
This year I decided to do things with more excellence. The first step was to look at my schedule. Where you look is where you walk. It’s the same when driving; if you’re sliding out of control and stare at that power pole, you’ll probably hit it. So when I looked at what filled my time last year I saw very quickly how I had become snared by mediocrity. What I did was simply remove from my schedule anything that did not support what I was best at. This meant I had to let go of some idols in my life. It forced me to remove idols I had not realized were distracting me. For example, I would never say ‘no’ to someone because I didn't want to let them down. Being needed was an idol. Those distractions became the very things that robbed me of excellence. I consistently chose ‘good’ over ‘great’ because I believed they were important. They were more the expectations of others than important for my own journey. I knew change had to happen. My hope is that what I discovered will revolutionize you as well.
It was an epiphany. I realized I needed to change my calendar and time management from a task-based model to strength-based. Since our schedules often dictate what we do, I decided instead that what I am best at would dictate my schedule. To accomplish this, I first had to know my strengths. The process for that I will share another time, but I discovered that my three core strengths are communicating, coaching and connecting. I assigned a color to each of those and began to schedule those attributes into my calendar. I now spend 85% of my time working in areas of my core strengths. I can honestly say that it has catapulted my level of excellence to another stratosphere. It is now easy for me to say ‘no’ to distractions because they just don’t fit in my calendar. Like you, I only have 24 hours in a day. I am now doing what I love and doing it with excellence.