A mysterious combination of human effort and divine grace (enablement) exists in every human accomplishment. High impact people, as a rule, insist on excellence. In the sports arena, the church, the arts, the worlds of academics, business, and politics, we discover a common theme. Accomplishment comes from human effort executed with excellence. In humility, we understand, as well, that it is God who gives us all abilities. After all, who do we think we are?
So, an appropriate question might well be, "in my work how can I perform with excellence?" Consider these suggested guidelines.
Second, organize your work into bite-size components. Big projects break down into a series of smaller projects. Whenever I have written a book, for example, I have always outlined the book first and then written one chapter at a time. Most books are simply a collection of essays connected by a sequential series of commonalities and similar themes.
As you organize your work, make sure to assemble any necessary tools. The right tool, albeit a book, a resource, whatever, can save an immense amount of time. The final organizational task is to allocate the time. It is true that work expands to fill the time allotted. It is also true that any worthwhile project will take time. So, schedule it! Work off of a deadline. When do you anticipate completion?
A third guideline (and this may surprise you) is to ask for help when and where it is appropriate. The old biblical insight, "you have not because you ask not," is true on multiple levels. Who can coach you? Advise you? Guide you? Assist you? I am always amazed at how great tasks attract people who want to have a part.
A fourth guideline (is this Tom Peters' "blinding flash of the obvious?") is that you must be diligent in your work. This means sustained effort without distractions. The Bible word, "patience," means to "bear up under the load." That is what I am writing about. Refuse to quit until the work is complete. Make it a sustained priority. And when the project is complete, then review, edit, and polish. Make sure there is nothing missing. When you are sick and tired of reviewing, do it again. Every great writer knows that when the first draft of a manuscript is finished, it is still less than half complete.
Finally, when the work is really done, celebrate and reward yourself! What gets rewarded gets done. So look forward to the accomplishment. Enjoy the fruit of your labor! And do not settle for anything less than a standard of excellence!
Do you have more tips to achieve excellence? Please share in the comments.