Every day you have important work to do, so give today your best effort. If you do, your work may not be perfect, but it will be pretty good. Excellence results when you give your best effort.

I write to give the best encouragement I can give. So this summer, I’m writing a series of short posts called Encouragement One-2-One*, featuring one thought, 2 quotes and one question. 

So here’s my encouragement, One-2-One, on striving for excellence by giving your best effort.

One Good Thought

Excellence, not perfection, impacts the world.

When you truly care about something, you want it to be perfect. But striving for perfection is frustrating and it can cause you to give up.

I know. I’ve “quit writing,” several times.

Here’s why I’m tempted to give up: I want everything I write to be perfect, because in my head, I believe perfection equals greater value to you, but that’s not true.

Even posts with flawz can still carrie a helpfull, enkouraging message. Rite?

If I insisted on absolute perfection, I’d never write anything. So I pursue excellence instead, by giving it my best effort. 

But sometimes, it’s easy to get discouraged. Frustration can tempt you to throw in the towel or do less than your best.

So how can you pursue excellence, even when you’re discouraged?

1. Start by admiring excellence in God’s work.

His creation is incredible. His writing is superb. His good news is really good. His love is pure. His work in your life and in mine is remarkable. Gather inspiration from God’s work, daily.

2. Let the excellent work of others inspire you. Point out excellence when you see it. Ponder it. Study it. Ask questions about it. Honor people for a job well done.

If you look for excellence, you’ll find it.

Valuing excellence pushes you to do your best, daily—even in the little things nobody sees.

It sure helped Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi.

In 1886, he hand-sculpted individual strands of hair on top of Lady Liberty’s head, even though he knew that few people would ever see them.

Why did Fredric do it? Because he pursued excellence. He chose to give his best effort.

Now photographers often fly high-powered cameras above the statue to shoot it from various angles. But since Bartholdi cared enough to do excellent work, Lady Liberty has no bald spots. The Statue of Liberty is still one of the most beautiful, iconic statues in the world.

3. Take steps to pursue excellence today:
• Observe God’s excellent work in creation (Ps. 145:5). Study it. Journal about it. Thank Him for making an excellent  world. This will inspire you to make excellent things, too.

• Pray for God to help you work with excellence. Ask Him to show you how to do it better. Commit your work to Him (Prov. 16:3). Seek to glorify Him with your work (Col. 3:23).

• Get inspired. Find a few excellent “heroes” in your field to inspire you. For example, my piano teacher kept a bust of Bach on her piano because she admired his work. She studied his music and played it and taught it. She used Bach for inspiration. Who can you use for inspiration?

• Learn new skills to improve your work. Watch YouTube “how to” videos. Read books. Listen to podcasts and speeches. No matter how excellent your work is, you can still do better. Giving your best effort requires learning and growing. (Click here for my list of great books on writing & speaking)

• Pay attention to details. Don’t cut corners. Consider what small changes can make a big difference. Giving your best effort to details affects the whole.

• Stay focused. Don’t get sidetracked. Even though obstacles arise (and believe me they will), refuse to give up.

If you pursue excellence in what you do, good results may not come instantly, but they will come. 

Excellence impacts the world and glorifies God. Give today your best effort!

2 Good Quotes:

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John Gardner

“Excellence is not being the best; it’s doing your best.”  Marcie Racine 

One Good Question:

How can you strive for excellence today? Find at least 1 source of inspiration and draw from it. Write out 3 small steps that can make a big difference. Then give it your best!

*For more Encouragement One-2-One posts, click here.