The Retirement of Excellence

October 17, 2011 § 5 Comments

I was once moved and inspired by the excellence statement that circulated through ATCO from RD Southern, the company’s chairman. It goes a little something like this:

Excellence
“Going far beyond the call of duty.
Doing more than others expect.
This is what excellence is all about.
It comes from striving, maintaining
the highest standards, looking after the
smallest detail and going that extra mile.
Excellence means caring. It means
making a special effort to do more.”

I left ATCO nearly a year ago, and the spirit behind this quote sticks with me. But, I heard someone else recently talking about a commitment to excellence. And I couldn’t help but feel the term is losing its significance. If you remember way back when David and I started this blog, we were talking about the meaning of words and which ones to ban from our vocabularies. I am hereby banning the word “excellence” from my vocabulary. Instead, well, instead.. I’m just going to be awesome.

Blasphemous! I know. Here’s the thing. Excellence to me has come to mean perfection and perfection is unattainable on a large scale. The perfect mix of life’s ingredients for me is not the ideal mix for you. It’s just not applicable when it comes to a larger picture.

Awesomeness, on the other hand… well, now we’re getting somewhere. Awesomeness isn’t stodgy, it’s more fluid. And it’s a word I use all too often. But it rings true with me, and it’s the first word out of my mouth when I thoroughly enjoyed something. Speaking of enjoyment, there’s another key word. Excellence is a measurement. Awesomeness is an experience. We’re not looking for the destination anymore, we want to LIVE every part of the journey.

Life is nothing more than the sum of our experiences… and at the end of mine, I’d like to look back with a smile and think “Holy shit, that was AWESOME!”

If I may:

Awesomeness…
Living life beyond the mundane of the everyday
Doing everything you can to stretch your comfort zone.
This is what awesomeness is all about.
It comes from an open mind, and open heart, maintaining
The highest commitment to self and to community and family,
Looking upon every day as a new adventure and thinking the stars are within reach.
Awesomeness means living for today. It means
Being with those you love, doing what makes you happy
And approaching everything not only with a commitment to service and quality,
But with a desire for joy, fun and life.

Live long, be well, be loved.

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