The Retirement of Excellence

October 17, 2011 § 6 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:

“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:

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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§ 6 Responses to The Retirement of Excellence

  • Tze says:

    Awesome post Wendy. 😉 Very inspirational. Think I’m going to print it out and put it up at my desk.

  • Wendy Peters says:

    Yay! Thanks Tze :). I think I may do the same… or even mount it on a plaque ;).

  • karenlongden says:

    What a wonderful blog you have here Wendy! I loved your beautifully written post and have to say one thing – you ARE awesome! I am so glad I discovered you (via LinkedIN incidentally) and I shall subscribe and help share the word!

  • Much appreciated, Karen. It’s always encouraging when things we write resonate with others. Thanks for joining us here and on Facebook.

  • Erin Stashko says:

    I enjoyed reading your outlook, Wendy, where you reflected upon the quote of excellence by RD Southern, Atco’s chairman. I noted with interest that you prefer achieving ‘awesomeness’ over ‘excellence.’ You mentioned that the term ‘commitment to excellence’ may be losing its significance, and I agree you have hit on a solid point.

    Being awesome is incredibly ‘doable’ whereas being excellent includes everything awesome *but* unfortunately ups the ante by creating a sense of ‘must always do more.’ (I equate this to a lot more stress!)

    While doing ‘more’ can be admirable, often, being awesome is just awesome enough!

    I love how you brought to your readers’ attention the following: “Excellence is a measurement. Awesomeness is an experience.”

    The fact that excellence is a measurement shows that it shouldn’t necessarily be considered to promote high standards – Measurements never tell a whole story or paint an entire picture. Feelings do, though. The experience gained from the thoughts and feelings explored is immeasurable.

    When you wrap this up by mentioning the journey and wanting to LIVE every part of it – you had me there! I am a ‘Be Here Now’ kind of person. While I look forward to the future, I am content to enjoy the ride while I am in the present moment.

    And as you say:

    “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!””

    I second the commotion.

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