The following is the planned introduction to a chapter in the manuscript of the new book I’m working on. The tentative title to the book is “A. C. E. Your Way to a Better Life.” The book is expected to be released late fall of 2020.

Chapter 1 Introduction

Is excellence determined by the outcome of a contest or is it measured by how well you perform? Furthermore, is excellence about how well you perform relative to a standard set by other athletes or relative to personal excellence? These are critical questions I’ve had for teams that I have coached.

I suggest you define “excellence” relative to how well you are capable of performing. It’s only natural, and realistic to compare yourself with others. The outcome does matter. For any competitor to strive to win is part of why they play the game. For the outcome-obsessive competitor it might be the only reason they play the game. But… take a step back and reflect on what you can control.

Is striving for personal excellence something an athlete can control? Yes.
Is the outcome something you have influence on but not control? Yes.
Consequently, make the striving for excellence, or being the best you can be, a mission.
It’s a process. What are you doing to prepare to be the best you can be?
Achieving excellence, as in personal excellence, involves taking your ability, preparing smartly and with purpose, making the right type of effort on game day, and having the mental and emotional will power to see it through when the outcome is on the line. If you can do that, you have been successful on a personal level of doing what you were capable of doing.

Sometimes doing our best is not good enough to get the outcome we want. There is disappointment for most athletes when they lose. But there can also be a sense of satisfaction that you strived to achieve personal excellence. You can still choose to respect yourself and love yourself, nonetheless. This will set you up for greater achievement in your pursuit of personal excellence.