Monthly Archives: October 2011

Excellence Part II

Last Tuesday introduced the first half of an insightful analysis of the distinction between excellence and perfection. Here’s the balance of the essay. I hope it will help you understand the difference between these two concepts and to more often choose the goal of excellence as your guide.

Food for Thought ~

Perfection is judgment. Excellence is accepting.
Perfection is taking. Excellence is giving.
Perfection is doubt. Excellence is confidence.
Perfection is pressure. Excellence is natural.
Perfection is the destination. Excellence is the journey.

Question of the day ~

How can you apply these guidelines for excellence in your life and in your leadership?

My new column in the North Bay Business Journal is based on a brilliant definition of leadership by John Quincy Adams, our country’s second president. Click here to read the article.

Excellence vs. Perfection

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to pursue excellence, not perfection. I like to think of myself as a “reformed perfectionist.” Excellence is much more meaningful and useful. Perfection is necessary in certain circumstances, but not as a guideline for daily living or leading. Here is the first part of an essay I came across many years ago. It makes a very helpful distinction between these two concepts. The author is unknown. Part two next week.

Food for Thought ~

Perfection is being right. Excellence is willing to be wrong.
Perfection is fear. Excellence is taking risk.
Perfection is anger and frustration. Excellence is powerful.
Perfection is control. Excellence is spontaneous.

Question of the day ~

How would you describe yourself? Do you strive for perfection or excellence?

People are still reading my recent article on managing change and transition,so here’s the link: please click here.

The Perils of Worrying

The subject of worrying seemed to hit home. Here’s one of the insightful comments I received:

Having previously been an owner of an automotive repair shop, Blankenship Motors, an auto analogy came to mind. Anger is like heat, worry is like rust. If you worry too much, your car and motor will rust to un-usefulness and eventual breakage; if you get and stay angry very long, you’ll heat up and wear out, particularly your lubricating oil will fail and all your bearings will fail to turn.

Clark A. Blasdell, President and CEO, Northbay Family Homes, Novato,CA

Food for Thought ~

What a wonderful analogy – worrying induces rust. I like the car analogy for another reason – it reminds us that we are our own best resource and need to take good care of ourselves. Most of us maintain our cars to keep them running well, and yet we may neglect or even mistreat our primary resource, our own body/mind/spirit. Excessive worrying is an example of doing just that.

Question of the day ~

Have you developed good self-care habits? (If there’s room for improvement, don’t be too proud to get some help. That’s why there are auto mechanics.) What kind of help might you need?

People continue to tell me that managing change and transition is exactly what they are doing right now, so here’s the link to my recent column in the North Bay Business Journal. For the article, please click here.

Analysis of Worrying

If you are in a leadership position, stress is usually part of the bargain. That makes stress management a necessary skill for leaders. The first step in time management, stress management and managing other people is self-management. If you can’t manage yourself, you can’t very well manage other people. Today’s self-management topic is about worrying.

Food for Thought ~

Stress management experts say that only 2% of the average person’s worrying time is spent on things that might be helped or somehow improved by worrying. The other 98% of the time is spent as follows:

~ 40% on things that never happen
~ 35 % on things that can’t be changed
~ 15 % on things that turn out better than expected
~ 8 % on petty, useless worries

Therefore, the self-management practice is to consciously resist worrying about something unless you have reason to believe it will do some good. Instead of worrying, I recommend doing something more active and useful, such as gathering and analyzing information, creative brainstorming, or a frank discussion about the situation with a trusted colleague or coach. Another alternative is to “go fishing,” (or whatever healthful activity you prefer) that frees your mind from obsessive thinking.

Question of the day ~

Do you have a tendency to worry too much? Have you practiced self-management techniques to curtail your worrying habit? What stress management resources have you developed?

One example of a highly stressful leadership challenge is managing change and transition. My new column in the North Bay Business Journal includes information on this subject that can help reduce stress. To read the article, please click here.