The Habit of Excellence

“Excellence is not an act….but a habit.”

Thoroughly engaged in munching on a sloppy burrito, the group leader’s question caught me off guard.  “What are your New Year’s resolutions?”

I gulped and coughed on a chunk of chicken. My mind screeched, “NOOOOOOOO…….”

Strangely enough, I struggle with being put on the spot for “group sharing,” specifically in ministry groups where I randomly tag along with my husband just to get free Baja Fresh. 

I hate the stilted quasi-spiritual answers that ensue. 

No one wants to admit their true resolution is to lose weight or ditch the potty mouth.  It’s always things like, “I’m working on my spiritual disciplines, or trying to get in an extra two hours of Scripture memorization a day.”

Yeah, right! 

But now I was in over my head.  The question moved around the large table (actually two tables awkwardly shoved together as one) until it was my turn to share.

I mumbled something about being more present with my kiddo’s, an area God has (legitimately) been working on my heart for the last year, but the truth was I didn’t have any resolutions.  I barely made it through the holidays and then it was Kolby’s birthday and I haven’t had a minute to stop and reflect and consider any real life change.

But later, curled up with my books and journal I chewed on the resolution’s a bit more.  After catching up on some reading and e-mails, I dug out a series of articles my ex-husband sent me to motivate my son for football.  The articles –by Western Branch Head football Coach Greg Gibson were on excellence and something in my heart perked up at Coach Gibson’s approach to life..

Gibson wants his players to strive towards being an “11” for life.   Why stop at “10”?  I love this!

 He stresses the pursuit of excellence in all his players.  With teenagers, it’s hard to communicate this enough and it creates high expectations, but this high expectation also creates great young men when they rise to the occasion.  

(In a world full of entitled slackers, I couldn’t agree more.)

Coach Gibson proclaims:”We want to increase our excellence and reach our potential in every area.  We have to discover our individual identities, find our purpose, decide what we want to accomplish, and create a plan to achieve.”

“Executing a plan to reach our full potential takes a lot of preparation,” the coach stresses.   “We want to uncover all of the things that can help or hinder putting that plan into action.  The willingness to do whatever it takes to execute that plan will yield excellence, but it doesn’t just happen.  Achieving excellence requires a great deal of hard work.”

Coach Gibson’s instruction on pursuing excellence doesn’t start with playing the game on the football field.   It starts with playing the game of life.   It starts with how you treat yourself and how you treat those closest to you.

Gibson’s advice:  “Excellence means understanding the needs of everyone in the family and sacrificing the time and effort it takes to meet those needs.”

“Listening is an important skill and discipline. When we listen, we learn, and move out of our comfort zones and into the other person’s world.   We have to make the necessary sacrifices and develop the commitment, focus, and discipline it takes to build tremendous relationships in our own families.   I recommend my players craft a plan for excellence.

My New Year’s resolution for 2013?  I want to shoot for an “Excellent Approach” in all areas of my life –as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, writer, blogger, speaker and friend.

The Bible puts it this way…

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”(Col. 3:23 NIV)

And I think I’ll start by using that new gym membership my sweetie got me, because I did an excellent job of polishing off a ton of sweets over the holiday season.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?


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