personal excellence

Personal Excellence: Be Your Super-Duper Best Each Day

Personal excellence can help you create limitless possibilities. Pursuing it is its own reward. That’s why it is one of my passions. And I share this passion with people. Personal excellence is a currency more important than the dollar. With personal excellence, you can multiply your value tenfold.

When you pursue personal excellence, YOU will develop mindsets that bring your imagination out of the box and adapt to new behaviors that create breakthroughs. Personal excellence in Filipino is pansariling panata sa pinakamagaling. Kagalingan is more appropriate than kahusayan (competence).

What is personal excellence?

Personal excellence is a commitment to be your super-duper best each day. It drives an individual to live an extraordinary, remarkable, and meaningful life. It is the discipline of choosing excellence over mediocrity — even in difficult situations. People who value personal excellence give their very best, walk the extra mile, and blaze trails.

People who value personal excellence take ownership of their actions. They look at problems as opportunities to create a better world. They are not perfectionists; they pay more attention to progress than perfection.

In Filipino, personal excellence may mean more than personal na kahusayan. I daresay that it means panata sa pinakamagaling.

Personal excellence is giving extra where everyone gives good enough.

Choose Personal Excellence

The first step aspiring leaders must take is to pursue personal excellence. It goes beyond the so-called “basic” leadership training for personal excellence is a journey. Leaders must continue learning and experiencing excellence each day.

Although most people say they value excellence, it does not come naturally. It is deliberate self-development.

Excellence is a conscious choice. It is a discipline that people must learn. Without discipline, actions fall back to the default: mediocrity.

Mediocrity is a habit.

We have mastered the habits of mediocrity.

If only all habits are as easy to develop as brushing your teeth, (I know of many people who have not developed that habit), excellence will be easy too.

Absenteeism, tardiness, and procrastination are habits. Blaming people, self-pity, and indifference are habits. Stress, financial, and time mismanagement are habits too. No one imposed these habits on us.

Mediocrity is a choice we made too often that it became second nature like breathing. When we don’t choose excellence, we choose mediocrity.

It is a fact: mediocrity and excellence cannot co-exist.

The only way to get rid of mediocrity is to replace it with excellence.

This is why we need to help each other.

Turn personal excellence into a habit.

Every day, we are presented with the opportunity to choose between mediocrity and excellence. When we don’t choose excellence, we choose mediocrity.

You can find many tips on how to kick a bad habit. You will certainly get some ideas that will encourage you to be conscious of personal mediocrity.

But if there is anything I can share with you that works, it is that you must create your personal excellence habit too.

Mediocrity and excellence cannot exist on the same plane. If you want to kick a bad habit, replace it with excellence.

When you are mindful of your actions, when you choose to give a little extra, you are taking control of your future. You are giving yourself the chance to create a new life.

If you keep on choosing excellence each day, it becomes a passion. Then, one day you will find it a habit that is as natural as the air you breathe.

She was never late.

I once asked a co-teacher why she was never late or absent from work for the last 17 years. She said it never came to her mind. She could not imagine how to be late or absent from work.

Too good to believe, right?

He never smoke a single cigarette.

I met a 65-year old farmer who told me he never experience how to smoke a cigarette. He did not intend too. He could not imagine himself.

This is easy to understand for me. It makes sense.

When I was younger, I sold cigarettes in the streets. I was a takatak boy. I learned how to smoke when I was 13 years old. But at the early age, I realized that smoking cigarettes is like burning money. I sold cigarettes to earn money, not to burn money.

In high school I smoke cigarettes when someone give a piece to me. But I never bought one for myself.

Some people still think that I don’t smoke cigarettes because my father, who was a chain smoker, died from lung cancer.

I made the decision when I was in third year college. I won’t smoke. Even if somebody buys me one.

I know of people who can never imagine themselves not smoking. Smoking has become part of their lives. And for them to stop it, they must choose to stop it.

Choosing excellence is like that too. You have to choose it to stop mediocrity. You have to keep choosing it until you cannot imagine your life not choosing it.

It is an easy. You have to make the first step. And the second step. As long as you live.

Take the journey.

The journey isn’t always easy. That’s what I found out.

It is not easy to choose personal excellence. It is not just a journey of a thousand miles. I found out that it is easier to make the first step than the 100th step.

Gym Membership

Many people enroll for one-year membership because they believe they can make it for a year. Gyms offer discounted rates for annual membership, and people buy it. They visit a few times, then disappear. We often overestimate our sustaining power.

The first step, paying for the annual membership, is easy.

Joggers in January

When I was still living in Quezon City, I used to go to the Memorial Circle. Hundreds of people get their every morning. But you will see the biggest crowd in January of each year.

People who has “start jogging” as their new year’s resolutions troop to the circle to do what they promised.

When one is resolute, we mean that the are determined and unwavering. Most people think of themselves as resolute people.

But most often, the pull of mediocrity is stronger than a resolute person.

Most people, at the start of every year, have the courage to make the first step towards the road that leads to personal excellence. After a month or two, they go back to the place so familiar to them: the road to mediocrity.

Why is that?

  • Because many don’t hold a map to personal excellence.
  • Because we don’t have mentors. No one is with us on this journey. It is often a lonesome and lonely endeavor.
  • Because the signposts to personal excellence are many but they are invisible to most of us.

When you don’t know where you are on your journey and you don’t have anyone to talk to, it is but human to go back to where everyone is. The comfort zone gets more attractive because almost everyone is there.

Make excellence cool again.

If you are a manager, I have a few suggestions.

  • Inspire them to win big.
  • Help the leaders in your organization see the signposts.
  • Let them create their own maps.
  • Provide them mentors and show them how they can make the journey together.
  • Help them make small wins.
  • Build momentum.

We can promote personal excellence in our organization. As managers, we must find ways to make it easy for people to choose it. Create your own personal excellence poke yoke.

It will be my joy to share with you what I know. You need to design new learning experiences for your leaders. You need to make them more competent. You need to show them the promise of personal excellence in their career and personal lives.

Reach out.

But what if you want to do it for yourself?

Continue reading. I will share practical steps on how to be super-duper you.

How to Be Super-Duper Best You

You can practice personal excellence daily. There is no single way to do it. However, some actions demonstrate the value. Find out which of these actions you can start doing.

Do First Things First

You can do many things in a day or an hour. But not all of these things are equal. Most activities make us busy, feeling good with the idea that we are productive. But only a few activities help us make the most significant impact.

Find the one thing that you need to do first. Find the one thing that makes the most significant difference. 

Most successful people focus on doing one thing at a time. I also heard much advice on improving concentration. The truth is that concentration or focus is more manageable than what most people imagine. 

You don’t need a superpower or a drug to stay focused on what you do. It’s important to know that you don’t have to do massive effort. You don’t even have to work all the time once you find the one thing that makes all other activities easy or unnecessary.

How do you do this?

  • List down everything that you can do given your available time for the day.
  • Find the one most important thing to do.
  • Then, start doing it until you get it done.

Be Responsible

People who value personal excellence are responsible people. They work with urgency because they take ownership of their results.

In my dictionary, responsibility is the ability to respond and to own the impact of our response on others.

Most people do not take responsibility because they are unaware of what’s happening. You cannot act on something you don’t know. Becoming mindful, therefore, is a hallmark of excellence.

Others are indifferent. They know, but they don’t care. Indifference is the enemy of excellence. People who value personal excellence are fully engaged.

How to become more responsible?

  • List 10 problems or challenges you are now facing in your life or in your business. Dig deeper.
  • Choose the issue that gives you the biggest headache. If it is too big an issue, slice the problem into many parts. Find the part that gives you the biggest headache and where you can make immediate change.
  • Ask yourself: What can I do today to solve X?
  • List down all possible solutions. Choose the ones that can make the biggest impact.
  • Do it.

Prepare Fully and Well

When I was in the seminary, we prepared for hours speeches we were expected to deliver in minutes.

We fully understand that every minute we give to speak on stage is a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. 

We increase the value of what we give to others when we practice and rehearse. I have been delivering speeches for many years now. I am confident that an hour of rehearsal multiplies the value of each minute of a speech.

I am also enormously confident when a piece is well rehearsed. The speech sounds authentic and meaningful.

You must have heard of that saying about sharpening the ax. 

If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

Allowing yourself to practice and rehearse ensures success.

How can you prepare yourself?

  • Anticipate a need. List down 10 possible solutions to the problems you brainstormed above. Even if you are not the “right person” to solve it for now, one day your organization will need somebody who can solve it. Be that person. You can turn that problem into your opportunities. [mfn] An entrepreneur looks at other people’s problems as opportunities to make a difference. [/mfn]
  • Take ownership of the problem Even if a problem is above your pay grade or you don’t have the title, it is important to take ownership of the problem. Explore the little things and the one big thing you can do to solve problems.
  • Learn how to solve problems. You can develop skills for future challenges today. Explore tools you can use. Being fully prepared does not mean that you have to learn everything. You cannot learn everything. But you can learn something that will give you confidence as you solve problems.
  • Embrace a Growth Mindset. A growth mindset gives you the courage to learn new things. You will accept the will make mistakes, but each mistake you have opportunities to learn and grow.

Related Articles

Continue your journey on personal development. I recommend the following articles.

  • Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset. A growth mindset will help set you up for big thinking projects. In addition, a growth mindset will help you set bold personal development plans. 
  • Lead by Example. Personal development is self-leadership. To become an effective leader, one needs to walk the talk. Therefore, we need to start with ourselves.
  • What Leadership Is? Find out how you can get started in leading people. This article is an excellent resource if you want to understand what you need to know and develop to become a leader that people wish to follow.
  • Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset. A growth mindset will help set you up for big thinking projects. In addition, a growth mindset will help you set bold personal development plans. 


To value personal excellence requires that you set yourself to a high standard. Then, even if no one is looking, you will do what you deem best. You go out each day knowing that you will make many choices. You pick to do what’s best for yourself and others each time.

Choosing personal excellence makes you unusual and peculiar when the norm is mediocrity. When people zig, you zag. You think different. You play bigger. You are leading by example. When you pursue personal excellence, you declare to the world that there is a better option than mediocrity and indifference.

We ought to promote personal excellence in the workplace. We have to set high standards for everyone if we want them to work at their best. You can start with your values, then define the actions aligned to your core values.

Celebrate small wins. Celebrate employees who demonstrate personal excellence.

Personal excellence encourages us to do our best every time. We become more intentional about our actions and how we deal with others. We naturally find ways to improve our skills and speed up our personal growth.

People are attracted to those who have a passion for excellence. They want to be like you, and they desire to be with you. Excellence, like mediocrity, is infectious. You can inspire people to do what’s best.

Personal Excellence Never Fails 

You are meant to grow. God destined you to become better every day since the day you were born. He has done his work for you. You only need to cooperate. You only need to deliberately do your part.

You are meant to be excellent. And if there is any formula that I know, a formula that will never fail, it must be personal excellence. My friend, pursue personal excellence and success will be yours.

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