Excellent performance is what separates an average businessperson from men and women of honor and acclaim.
Those with accolades of distinction have had bold ideas and plans to achieve them. They have the energy, passion and perseverance to exceed anticipated results. They have climbed around every obstacle to become the best at what they do.
Many times, mentors, parents, spouses, teachers and coaches encouraged them or challenged them to be outstanding. Expectations were set to climb as high, as far and as fast as they could -- and so they did.
On the other hand, we often see individuals who didn't need a push to move forward. They already had the fire to pursue their dreams of launching a future award-winning business. In many cases, these individuals have been overachievers, building more than one company. A few even created new industries.
Excellence is an attitude, followed by noteworthy execution. Those who rise above the masses have it. The rest of us work for them.
What's wrong with us? Why are we content to be average? What holds us back?
Perhaps we lack confidence or have failed in the past. Perhaps we have felt a lack of encouragement. Maybe our passion has been extinguished.
This week, a young businessman approached me. He spoke of despair, disappointment and humiliation. His dreams of greatness had disappeared. He had tried repeatedly to achieve success without results.
"What can I do? You know me. Why am I failing? I see my peers, my fellow classmates, winning awards and building brilliant careers. Why can't I?" he said.
I am afraid this man is not alone. Discouragement is common among many of today's workers.
I suggest a plan to restore confidence.
First, know you can achieve excellence. It is within you. It may be dormant, but it is there. Your fire just needs more fuel -- the kind that inspires, motivates and impels us to act.
Watch a great movie, read a powerful novel, listen to world-class music, walk through a forest. There is beauty all around to help you recognize that you, too, are capable of excellence.
Second, know you can be excellent in something today, even if it's just brushing your teeth well. Use what you do well as a stepping-stone to develop greatness in the next task, and so on. After a while, you will find you are outstanding in many areas.
Third, be patient as you pursue your dreams. It takes a lot of time to be great in anything. Decide now to be steady, hopeful, consistent and to not falter, and the rewards will come.
Fourth, view failure as a valuable lesson. All great people have learned from failures and don't repeat them.
Fifth, have a forward-looking, flexible and realistic life plan. Know what you want, why, when, how, where and at what cost. Accept that life isn't easy or simple. Keep your eyes on your ultimate goal and prioritize around it. If you stay the course, you will reach your target.
And finally, always be optimistic, never doubting yourself or your future.
Keep in mind that the sun will rise another day, that life can be sweet and joyous. Push from your mind negative thoughts and attitudes. Find a good reason to relish one more day on this amazing planet.
What is it that inspires you to excellence? Drop me a note at www.AlanEHall.com or @AskAlanEHall. You can also follow my newest columns at http://blogs/forbes.com/alanhall/.