Just Be Exceptional


The most successful people I know are laser-focused on operating at the upper limit of their ability. Always. They apply that mindset to their business, their work, their writing, their family, their hobbies – anything they choose to focus on. They don’t see the point in putting their name to anything unless they’re going to give it everything.

I’m not talking about being exceptional at some point in the future. I’m not talking about looking back on your life when it’s ending and congratulating yourself for doing a great job. I’m talking about being exceptional right now, this second, and being it consistently.

Carrie Green, founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, constantly reminds her members to get intentional about their business; that success is never an accident. She advises them to succeed on purpose by visualizing where they want to be and making it happen by intentionally delivering every single day. Carrie turned a blog that profiled female entrepreneurs into a multi-million-dollar membership organization by following these principles herself.

It’s imperative that your commitment to being exceptional starts right now. You don’t know what will happen next, but you can prepare to succeed in every eventuality. People are largely consistent, which means the mistakes and oversights of today will only serve to be exaggerated in the future. A string of bad todays doesn’t make for a positive tomorrow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. Doing a great job right now is the best indicator of future success.

In your business, you need to focus on being exceptional today because that’s all your customers care about. They don’t care about your huge growth plans, they don’t care about that other huge account you won. They care about receiving the service or the products you promised them, right now, to the absolute best of your ability.

In an interview with Ben Banks, the founder of specialist sports brand SBD Apparel, he was asked what he was most likely to say at work. The answer: “let’s just double check that”. Least likely to say: “that’ll do”. Ben’s commitment to every product with the SBD name on being exceptional has meant the brand has earned a reputation of being a stickler for quality. I’ve heard Ben receive stick for the fact that nothing gets past his hawk eyes! But guess what? The business is thriving, SBD receives sales and global recognition from top athletes and its customers trust the quality of the products. They recommend the products to their friends and the future success of the business takes care of itself.

Don’t underestimate the power that being exceptional right now can hold in creating yourself a favorable future.

Don’t underestimate the power of being known as someone who is really good at everything they put their name to. You don’t need to share the hours of work and practice that went into getting there. Make it look easy. Make it your superpower.

I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last. You’ve probably seen the Steve Martin quote “be so good they can’t ignore you”, the wisdom of which rings true for this message.

Don’t be embarrassed about having exceptionally high standards of yourself and everyone around you. It’s not a bad thing. Good sometimes just isn’t good enough. Something slipping in the short term doesn’t bode well for the long term.

The 2009 film “He’s just not that into you” brings a refreshing approach to dating and relationships. Every time someone was stood up on a date, every time he didn’t call, every time someone’s other half wasn’t making any effort, a line was used: “He’s just not that into you”. At first, the characters took offense at the brutal honesty, but after considering they found it to be exactly the line they needed.

What if we took a similar approach to failing businesses? Rather than blaming market forces, ex-team members or the board, what if the answer was just “we need to get better”? We need to be exceptional. We’re just not good enough right now. The great people around you will jump at the chance to improve too. Surround yourself with these people, rather than those who make excuses, explain it away and blame others. Be firmly in the former camp yourself.

The great people around you will jump at the chance to improve too. Surround yourself with these people.

The recipe for becoming exceptional is a wake-up call about where you are right now coupled with the deliberate intention to succeed.

How do you get there? Put your phone away, remove the beliefs you have about what is holding you back, put yourself in the driving seat of your business and life and do the things you need to do. Be exceptional.