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The 12 Concepts of Excellence for Your Life and Work

October 16, 2019

This post is by John Cook, PRC’s chief client officer.  

John Cook

“Live by what is important. Excellence comes from not just knowing what is significant or worthwhile, but choosing it.” 

That’s something I say a lot. Earlier this year, I have begun to be more intentional about giving myself sabbatical moments. Throughout this endeavor, I have become aware of the foundations that have guided me through my work and journey toward excellence. 

I gladly share these to encourage your own journey of excellence.  

The 12 Concepts of Excellence 

  1. Lead like a CEO but in a way that is unique to you. Lead from your heart and spirit. Do not lead with your head and agenda.
  2. Create an atmosphere charged with meaning and purpose. Owning your purpose feels odd sometimes in our work environments. Be meaningful about it, your work, with your colleagues. While it may feel odd to set this tone, if you continue, others will follow. 
  3. Do the best you can while you still have the chance. Books are filled with leadership theory; however, mine is based on these words from my mother. These were Mom’s last words to me before she passed: “Do what you know that you have to do and do it right.” ~ Dorothy “Tot” Cook, January 31, 2014. 
  4. Stay away from the places that cause you to slip and fall. This is the place that although comfortable, will get you off track.
  5. Know the seed that is in your hand. Give yourself space and time for the discovery of your gifts and talents. 
  6. When a defining moment (an Almighty Encounter) comes, claim it, make an action list, do it. Listen, observe. 
  7. Experience a frame of mind change… A sabbatical. Leading comes from the heart. As I can tell you, 40 years in healthcare requires periodic renewal of heart. This means pausing sometimes. It also means meeting people, one on one, reaching out. 
  8. Be a catalyst for change, as my friend Merikay Hunt says. You can also focus this in healthcare or in life to be a catalyst for healing. Remember, people are facing challenges you don’t know about. 
  9. Realize people are watching. Rather than feel self-conscious about it, know that you can be a pebble in the pond. You can change other lives, the world, leading with your good example. 
  10. Have and go to the place to quiet your mind. Where can you go, either physically or mentally, to take a break and be still? You might pray, meditate, take a walk in a park. Finding this space or place and visiting often will help you stay on a path of excellence because it provides downtime during which you can reflect more calmly on problems that seem insurmountable. 
  11. Ground yourself in the important things of everyday life. Ask yourself: What do I need to set aside and what do I need to pick up? 
  12. Simply make the choice to make excellence a way of life.

Applying Excellence in Your World 

The hard part isn’t understanding these concepts but finding ways to apply them in daily life. Forming a new habit around this is challenging. Here are some tips: 

  1. Face the challenges through honest conversation with self and trusted friends.
  2. Open yourself to defining moments of understanding and clarity.
  3. Write your vision with an action plan.

Today could be the most important day of your life, making a choice to pursue excellence. You may feel and know what is significant but have you made a choice?  

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