The Difference between Success and Excellence

Most performers believe success and excellence are interchangeable terms. After all, if I’m successful I’m excellent–right? Wrong.

Success is an absolute term. If you are the highest producing salesperson, win the game or beat the earnings forecast you are successful. Success in the performance world is about achieving outcomes better than others by comparison.

Excellence, on the other hand, is a relative term. It is about maximizing your personal and organizational potential. If you are the highest producing salesperson but you can sell more, you have not fulfilled your sales potential. If you win the game but could have scored more points, you have not fulfilled your athletic potential. If you beat the earnings forecast but leave some organizational profit on the table, you have not fulfilled the potential of your company.  If you are excellent you deliver the best performance you are capable of, regardless of the absolute outcome.

If you are excellent, you will be successful but you can be successful without being excellent. Commit to excellence–it’s more meaningful. And, by the way, it’s also more fun!


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