Is today as good as you’ll ever be?
Will today be as good as your life ever gets?
Let’s pretend I’m an all-knowing being—which I most certainly am not—and that I visited you with an announcement: “Today is as good as you’ll ever be. You’ll never be any better than you are right now. Tomorrow won’t be terrible, but you will be a little less happy, a little less healthy, make somewhat less money, have shallower experiences and make less impact. And that will continue each day for the balance of your life.”
Would you be happy?
I am very confident that most people would say not.
At some level, we all hope and expect our lives to keep getting better…
….but what do we do each day to ensure that happens?
Ongoing improvement requires both the desire and the discipline, a passion and a plan. That’s why I wrote, The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Narrowing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be.
I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best companies and highest performers of our day. I noticed that many had succeeded at becoming the best in their space, but that once they did, they faced an even bigger challenge: how to become better.
When you’re at the top of your game, improvements are more incremental and harder fought. You’ve got few if any to emulate. You are now the leader, and just maintaining, much less increasing, that lead is difficult.
So Why Get Better?
If you are already among the best, or even really good, why would you even want to get better? First consider this: we all know how good we’ve become, but none of us know how good we could be. No person or organization I’ve ever worked with has ever claimed they were living or doing business at peak potential. Why? We simply don’t know what is possible, so we keep aiming to get better and find out just how good we could be. That makes life and business incredibly interesting.
There are four drivers for continual improvement.
The first is change: with so many changes occurring around us, we need to improve our knowledge and skills just to keep up.
The second is competition: if our competitors get better and we don’t, we lose ground.
The third is customers: they have increasing expectations. Ever noticed that the more you do for customers, the more they expect? Of course. And that’s why you need to continue to increase your value proposition.
Finally, your capabilities are above whatever level you are performing at now. As a wise client once told me, “We don’t benchmark against our competitors, we benchmark against our capabilities.”
The Keys to Better
Nobody gets better “accidentally.” Only wine improves with age without trying. You don’t accidentally improve significantly, reach the highest summits or make the greatest positive impact without intentionality.
How much do you want to get better? Teachers can teach you, coaches can coach you, and motivational speakers can pump you up, but it is what you do with the information that matters.
Ongoing improvement requires a process and is based on principles you correctly and consistently apply. The exciting thing is, when you are intentional and take action, the door to your future swings wide open. Your willingness to work at improving yourself is the secret to realizing your full potential. You supply the commitment to getting better, coupled with the right plan and process, and your effort will start to pay off. It’s well worth it.
Not only will it benefit you, but it will also benefit the people around you. Your customers will be happier. Your boss will be impressed. And your family will see you at your best—the spouse and parent you really want to be.
So, you have a choice to make. Are you content coasting along, content with the status quo? Or are you ready to make your best even better?
Inspired to Improve
Your purpose is essential to pursuing your potential.
If you want to be everything you can be, you need a compelling reason, and that is your purpose. It takes a strong Why to power the What and How.
D. L. Moody said that our greatest concern in life should be to succeed in something that really matters. One of the best ways to do this, and move closer to realizing your true potential, is this:
Look for the inherent meaning in your work as well as infusing your work with meaning.
When you commit to something bigger than yourself, you often find a bigger purpose. Remind yourself every day of how your role as an employee or an entrepreneur contributes to the purpose of your company, and the impact you have on customers. When you better your best, you also have more to give your family and community.
Remember the impact you can have on others through your performance. It isn’t just the job that you have but also how you do that job that makes the difference between average and extraordinary. Resolving a customer’s complaint gracefully, delivering a knockout sales presentation or going above and beyond as a parent or spouse gives purpose and meaning to your efforts.
What matters most to you? What gets you out of bed each morning, excited and ready to face the new day? Where do you enjoy spending your time, energy, and emotion?
As a person of faith, I believe we all have a purpose in life. Find yours. Discover the meaning in what you do. Then give it everything you’ve got using the tips I’ve shared in this blog and the guidance and encouragement I offer in The Potential Principle. Not only will you find success in bettering your best, but your success will matter—both to you and to the people around you.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com.
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