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.


Rediscovery my purpose… by accident.

August 15, 2011 § 4 Comments

If there’s anything that life likes to do, it’s get increasingly busier. Sooner or later, we each wake up and think, “How did I get here?” That is, if we wake up to that fact at all. Although a busy life is not something I think any of us can avoid, it is possible to keep your ear to the ground and eye on the road to know when you’re swerving off track. Just like driving, it requires focus and attention when you’re behind the wheel. If you’ve got too many things going at once, you might find yourself in a heap on the side of the road sooner than you think.

I’m by no means crashing into a ditch, but I’ve felt myself slowly being pulled off course. In fact, I think I turned down a side road and lost my way for a while. I’ve been off on a different sort of adventure and the sounds of the main highway, that is, the road I had first set out on with a purpose in mind, were drawing more distant every day. I vaguely remembered what it once was, but was losing touch with that part of me. I’ve been wanting to make my way back, to remember what exactly I was after in the first place, but I didn’t know the way. At least not until, like a loud horn and beacon blazing through a thick fog, I was given a connection back to that place… and hence, a direction to head in.

I was reminded today of an experimental status I did on Facebook one day last year.  I used my status as a cancer fundraiser. Except instead of trying to get my network to support me, I asked them for their stories. In exchange for every story shared, I donated $2 to cancer research. The experiment was successful in my books. I had nearly 40 stories shared, and 4 other friends who stepped up to match my pledge. In total we raised close to $500… yep, you read that right. $500 from a Facebook status update.

About 10 months ago, I left my employ with ATCO and started a new adventure with Yelp, a business reviews website out of San Francisco. With this new challenge came a lot less available time for me to keep up many of the online activities I had been doing in my spare time. This, unfortunately, has included blog posts on The Muse and Views. Today, however, I was reminded of why I started the blog with David in the first place. My whole reason for blogging was partially that of healing, inspiring and sharing my ideas and thoughts, and partially in hopes of inspiring and helping others with my posts. I’m not sure when exactly I lost sight of that purpose, but I did. And because I did, it’s made trying to keep up the blog and the new job next to impossible.

What’s so special about today? Well, through a sponsorship we’re doing with Light The Night across Canada, my Facebook status experiment and how well it had worked was at the forefront of my mind. I wanted a way to engage Calgary’s Yelp Community the same way I had engaged my own personal network all those months ago. I recognized my knack for using communication tools in ways many don’t think of at first. It comes so naturally, it’s a part of who I am.

This was the beacon lighting my way back. That connection into myself that I won’t otherwise find. As much as I wish this blog were for you, it’s really, first and foremost, for me. And, with David’s reminder not to waste our talents, I’m making my way back.

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