The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

How to insert excellence into 2014

On December 30th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

Booker T. Washington may have said it best, “Excellence is doing common things in an uncommon way.” How good is that? Read it again if you have to, but as you prepare yourself for 2014, Mr. Washington’s statement may be something you want to get your head around. I love it.

Life is filled with “common things.” All day, every day, the mundane and trite seem to fill the hours. Your morning routine, followed by your morning commute, blends into mid-morning “oh wells,” followed by a “ho-hum” lunch, easing into the mid-afternoon energy crash, which welcomes you to a less than momentous quitting time, followed by the “rush hour” return routine. From there, more mundane until bed time. Common stuff – all day, every day.

Add some uncommon ways of dealing with these common things and you got yourself some excellence. And who doesn’t want more excellence in their lives? If your world is like my world, a little “excellence” is gladly welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Start with love. When you show somebody some love, it takes the mundane and turns it into “excellence.” Loving your neighbor, your fellow worker, your favorite teller, the person on the other end of the phone – just anybody you come in contact with will allow for them to reciprocate with excellence. Be the person who, when you enter a room, has a “there you are” attitude not a “here I am” one.

Recently, I showed some love to the check-out clerk at my favorite store. Guess what, she tells me about a coupon that will save me money. Suddenly, the common became excellent. When my fellow worker is treated with love, her effort increases and the performance goes from common to excellent. You get the idea. Toss some love into what is common and you will emerge with something uncommon. That, my friends, epitomizes excellence.

You want to talk love… I got one for you. Nelson Mandela invited his jailers as honored guests to his inauguration as president of South Africa. The common thought is far from extending the invitation to such a group of men. It is my guess that they were far from empathetic and compassionate to Mr. Mandela during his incarceration. While the common thing to do is to avoid them, Mr. Mandela chose the uncommon thing. Rooted in love, he created excellence for an entire country, world and generations of people to follow.

We, meaning society as a whole, operate outside of love way too often. And because that is the common thing to do, we don’t plug into what could be. Outside of love, voices sound like banging cymbals – the hitting of two trash can lids together. But, inside of love, we listen, we gain perspective, and compassion. We tap into our own empathy that we can share and make the world a better place.

Do me a favor in 2014. When the whole world calls for you to do common things, insert some excellence into the equation and turn it into something uncommon. Be a light on a hill and shine for something better than common. Be excellent – we have enough common.

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