Excellence Is Not the Exception


One of the more challenging questions I get most often is, how do I find a career that I’m passionate about?

Or another common statement is I just want to do what I love.

These are not bad thoughts or questions to ask. I think these types of questions often reveal a higher level of thinking than simply doing something because you’re “supposed to do it” or you’re just in it for the money. And if your passion or “what you love” is something that many people will pay you for, then you’re ready to fly!

For instance, I know several students of mine that absolutely love accounting.  They were born to work with debits and credits and read about fixed and variable assets in their free time. I know right?

This is an easy win. Every company (big and small) needs an accountant. It’s a very hireable skill set.

But what if your passion doesn’t translate to your career?

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite TV personalities:

“Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs. Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel.”

~ Mike Rowe (Host of Dirty Jobs)

As a dreamer, this rails against my inner artist.

But as a pragmatist, this soars with possibility.

Stop trying to find happiness in your career. Focus on being excellent at what you do. Click To Tweet

Excellence should never be the exception. It should be the goal.

Here’s what you can do to pursue excellence at your job:

  1. Be diligent and work hard.
  2. Do the little things well.
  3. Learn and improve your skills everyday.

What’s interesting is, people who are excellent at their jobs rarely complain about being unhappy. They are too busy being really good and making a difference.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” ~ Colin Powell

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