The Mindless Pursuit of Excellence

| by Shannon Williams

I left my neighborhood this morning turning left on my usual path. The only problem was I needed to turn right. 

Clearly, I wasn’t thinking. I was simply going through the motions doing what has become routine. Unfortunately, that was not going to get me where I needed to be—in fact, it got me off track pretty quickly. 

How often do we apply this same mindless approach to our work? We go through the motions without thinking and then we are surprised that we don’t achieve the results we are hoping for. 

It happens to the best of us. 

So, how do we avoid the mindless pursuit of excellence? It starts with intentionality. 

What are you hoping to achieve—attracting more volunteers, retaining more donors; building more collaborative programs. Whatever it is—claim it, write it down, keep it visible. Spend 10 minutes at the start of each day thinking strategically about what you will intentionally do that day to get closer to achieving your goal. 

Don’t try to squeeze in 10 minutes of strategic thinking. Plan for it. Put it on your calendar. Own it, even if it means arriving at your office a few minutes earlier or building it into your morning coffee time. This investment of time will pay dividends. 

Without commitment, structure, and intentionality we all fall back into the comfortable and the routine. Routine has its place, but it is seldom yields meaningful change. 

And isn’t meaningful change the pursuit? Otherwise it really doesn’t matter if you turn left or right.

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