What Is the Key to Becoming Exceptional?
What makes an Australian Elite SAS Soldier Exceptional?
They are fit, phenomenally proficient at their craft and determined, but what makes them stand out as leaders in their field are their standards. Their ability to hold themselves to the highest standard, constantly driving to better their best is a crucial and vital skill. The fact they are surrounded by like-minded comrades who constantly aim for the peaks is an environment that delivers the Exceptional.
As business owners we are at the top of our corporate ecosystem and very rarely are we held accountable to someone, someone who looks at us and says, “I know you can do better” or “that simply wasn’t good enough – do better”. It can be a very lonely place at the top of the tree and sometimes we get so busy doing business that we forget to surround ourselves with a group of like-minded business owners whose standards mirror our own. Having a cohort around you, as our Elite SAS do, can be that missing ingredient to help motivate and drive you to take yourself to the next level.
We have all been guilty, myself included, of those terrible productivity black hole traits – procrastination, choosing the easiest tasks first or just complete avoidance. Having someone you don’t want to disappoint or let down, is something that I believe is important if you are looking to constantly raise your standards.
Having personal standards can also be an incredibly satisfying. When I get to the end of the day I am more fulfilled, when I can honestly say I performed at my best and provided more value to the business than I did the day before. I am constantly looking to raise my standards. Complacency is a success killer. Once you believe that you are at the top, there is only one way to go. Whenever I think I have gotten to the top of what I am capable of, I look to go even further the next day. I simply don’t believe that there is a ceiling to what we can accomplish.
When I have spoken to any extremely successful person, there is usually one defining characteristic that stands out. They are unwilling to compromise their standards. They have all told me that they have initially left money on the table and walked away from potential business in the short term however the payoff has had disproportional upside in the long term.
CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds, Jo Burston, who leads a network of 28000 inspiring women entrepreneurs, told me of her early business decision to only work with brands that have an international presence. This meant turning away domestic business, however Jo had a bigger vision and made a decision to set a standard. A standard which has seen her grow her business internationally, rather than just domestically.
For me, I have a minimum standard that I am not willing to compromise on. I only stock perfectly cut diamonds in the pure white range (D,E,F colour), however my competition are happy to stock the average cut mid-range coloured diamonds. Am I missing out on sales by not stocking mid-range to low range quality diamonds – potentially. However, I refuse to compromise my business standards. It is a common business myth that you need to be all things to all people otherwise you are missing out.
This is what leads most successful businesses to niching. Becoming known for something will not only let you stand out as the expert, but it will also make your life easier. When you focus and set your business a standard, you can immediately discard those things that don’t fit with your model. This leaves you more time to focus your effort and attention on the things that will help your business grow into the amazing well-oiled machine you always hoped it would be.
So what are your standards, what are you willing to accept and sometimes more importantly what are you not willing to accept?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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