This is what you need to chase to catch excellence

By Harvey Mackay

A young American singer taking a bow at La Scala in Milan, Italy, was flattered when the discerning Italian audience forced him to return and sing an aria for the fourth time. Completely winded, he finally begged off, saying it was physically impossible to sing it a fifth time.

A voice boomed from the gallery, “You’ll keep on singing it until you sing it right.”

Setting high standards can inspire others and elevate the performance of your entire team, which is why you want to aim for perfection.

Perfection is not about never making mistakes; it’s about learning from them. Each mistake is an opportunity to refine your approach.

Continuous improvement means to continually improve your skills and processes. It’s about getting better every day.

Legendary pro football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

Perfection is an aspirational goal, but mostly unattainable. Our pursuit of perfection can drive us to achieve excellence. In the context of sales and business, striving for perfection means constantly improving, learning from mistakes and setting high standards for your work and yourself.

When I think of perfection in sales, it is all about being detail-oriented, preparation and follow-up. Paying attention to the details can make a big difference in any sales process. It shows clients that you care and are thorough in your work. The more prepared you are, the closer you get to that ideal of perfection in your pitches, presentations and negotiations.

In sales, follow-up is where many opportunities are won or lost. Striving for perfection in staying connected with clients can lead to more closed deals.

The trick is to balance perfection and practicality. You need to set realistic goals, be flexible and be satisfied with excellence. While perfection is the goal, it’s important to set realistic and achievable targets to avoid burnout and frustration. Flexibility is about adapting. Sometimes the pursuit of perfection can lead to rigidity. Flexibility allows you to respond to the unexpected and still deliver quality results. Recognize and celebrate excellence. Perfection might be the goal, but excellence is an achievement worth acknowledging.

In essence, while achieving perfection is a lofty goal, it is the journey toward that ideal that truly matters. It’s about striving to be the best version of oneself, delivering the best possible service to clients, and not being discouraged by the fact that perfection might be out of reach. It is in our striving that we find growth, success and fulfillment.

Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Regularly ask for constructive feedback from your peers, mentors and supervisors. Use this information to make adjustments and grow.

Embrace learning and accept that mistakes are part of the learning process. Each error is an opportunity to improve and refine your skills. A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it!

Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. Small, incremental changes can lead to significant advancements over time.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Rest and rejuvenation are essential for sustained high performance. My formula is this: work as hard as you can, then give yourself permission to have some downtime. Then do it all over again.

Of course, loving what you do makes hard work much more rewarding. As Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

Two men met on an airplane and began to talk. They asked each other the usual questions, and as it happened, one of the men was married and the other man was not. After a while the married man asked, “Why is it that you never married?”

The single man looked pensive then said, “Well, I think I just never met the right woman.”

“Oh, come on,” the married man replied, “surely you’ve met at least one girl during your lifetime that you wanted to marry.”

The single man once again thought about the man’s statement. “Well, yes, that’s true,” he said. “There was one girl once. The perfect girl. Actually, she was the only perfect girl I have ever met. Everything she did was absolutely right on. She really was the perfect girl for me.”

“Well, why on Earth didn’t you marry her?” the married man asked.

“She was looking for the perfect man,” the other replied.

Mackay’s Moral: Nobody is perfect, but we are all perfectly capable of being awesome.

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