A couple of weeks ago, I recorded a sermon by one of my favorite Pastors from Lakewood Church in Houston-Joel Osteen. You may recognize his name from various Television programs, his life transforming books or even his appearances on Oprah’s Own Network where he has been featured a number of times. I enjoy listening to his teachings and this particular time was no exception. He was speaking on what it means to be a person of excellence and how he has made it a goal in his life. He further shared some examples of the times he didn’t necessarily feel like going that extra mile but decided to do it anyway and it proved to be worthwhile. For months now, I have known that I wanted to write an article on this topic. After listening to that particular message, I decided it was time to write about the importance of excellence pertaining to a woman. In general, this article summarizes what an excellent and classy woman is all about.
Excellence is defined as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good according to an online dictionary. Being a woman of excellence is something I’ve been mindful of for many years and practice doing on a daily basis. Being excellent does not mean doing things with the intent of being ‘perfect’ which would leave one frustrated, feeling like a failure or having a sense of lack of fulfillment in life. Excellence is a standard you set for yourself which sets you apart from others. We live in a society where mediocrity has sadly become the norm with many doing less than what is required of them and having an overall sloppy and lazy approach towards life. What a wonderful opportunity to stand out from the crowd and set yourself apart in all areas of your life by going that extra mile. Doing things with excellence involves giving your very best and doing your finest work, even in areas which are not your strengths. Being a woman of excellence is a mindset, not an afterthought. When we do all things with a heart and mind of excellence, we can never have regrets because we gave it all we had.
So, how does one become a woman of excellence?
1. Have the Right Attitude
Before we can accomplish anything great, we have to have the right mindset. A complaining, negative, cynical attitude and spirit won’t produce excellence; rather it drives others away and makes for an unproductive day. Start each new day with a ritual that makes you smile. Perhaps it’s a hot cup of coffee or tea in the quiet hours of the morning, a run or workout to jump start your metabolism and energy levels or quiet time in prayer & meditation, focusing on what you are most grateful for. How we begin our day is so important and often determines how the rest of it will unfold. If you hit a bump in the road be sure to take a few quiet moments alone to refocus so that one unexpected event does not ruin the rest of an otherwise productive or joyful day.
2. Put in an Honest Day’s Work
Everyone’s day looks different. For some it may mean housekeeping & babysitting while for others it involves reporting to a superior in a formal setup. You may be entrusted with independence and not be under the watchful eye of your boss but it’s essential to respect the position and freedom afforded to you by giving your best effort daily. Some employees spend a large portion of their day on social media, making long personal phone calls on account of the company they work for or taking unceremonious breaks several times a day. Such activities are not part of the job description. Likewise, if one works from home and indulges in excessive television or online browsing, then tasks such as such as cleaning, paying bills for the family, setting appointments and essentially keeping things running smoothly will not be accomplished in time. Their efforts or the lack of them will affect how everything else runs in that home. A woman of excellence takes her work seriously with the intent of producing positive results for not only herself but those around her who have entrusted her with the role she has been afforded. Avoid leaving projects unattended until the last minute. Give yourself the time to produce your best work so that you have no regrets.
3. Be a Woman of Your Word
There are so many times in life when we commit to something and then later reconsider because the feeling of excitement that we had when we first made the commitment is no longer present days, weeks or months later. A classy woman honors her commitments and always follows through her tasks with the right attitude & right Heart regardless of how she feels. There are times in life when this is not always possible because of unexpected emergencies. However, I’m speaking about the rule rather than the exception with regards to how we should respond. A woman of excellence is someone who can be counted on, is responsible, reliable and trustworthy. We cannot be all these things if we’re flighty and easily give way to whatever mood that strikes us at a particular moment.
4. Look for Opportunities
Sadly, many people are struggling to get through their day and as a result are not mindful of others. A woman of excellence looks for opportunities to be of service to others. She leaves little gaps of time in her day by not over-scheduling herself for these very moments. Maybe it’s helping a colleague carry some items to her car after work or taking a moment to catch up with a neighbor who has now become a widow that she hasn’t seen in a while. Being a blessing to others doesn’t just happen, we need to look for opportunities to make life less about us and more about others.
5. Make Yourself Presentable
One of the first opportunities for excellence that you have is in how you physically choose to present yourself to the world. Are clothes freshly laundered, pressed and free from threads, lint, hair and stains? Are your shoes in good shape or are they scuffed and the heel lifts worn? Does your hair and makeup have a polished overall look or are you just racing to get out of the door for work in the morning, leaving it wet or doing as little with both as possible? A woman of excellence makes the time each morning to present herself in the way that she feels represents her best. Others will take notice that you are proud of your appearance and when we look our very best on the outside we often feel great on the inside and are much more ready to tackle the day. Being unkempt on the other hand makes us feel low and frumpy.
6. Do what is Right when nobody is watching
We all have a conscience and know when we are not doing what we ought to. I believe a person’s actions when nobody is looking are more telling about a person than when all eyes are on them. It is in these moments that we make decisions that truly reveal our character. Do you pick up the blouse that falls off the hanger and onto the floor while outfit shopping or just keep on walking because you are aware that the sales person will pick it up? Do you steal a few chocolates out of a co-workers candy jar when they’ve left for the day or treat their space with respect even in their absence? Do you pick up the paper towels on the restroom counter or floor with a clean paper towel that others left behind to leave the room better than you found it or just let it sit where it is because it’s not your bathroom and you didn’t make the mess? Go the extra mile and do what others will not!
“Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.” ~Colossians 3:23
There are so many daily events that take place just waiting to give us the opportunity to do things with a spirit of excellence but it’s up to us to recognize them and take advantage of them. In many ways I feel that faith plays an important role in being a woman of excellence. Why? Personally, as a Christian woman, I strive to be more like Christ (which by the way is not always easy) and I seek to make Him proud as a child does with his/her parents. I believe He truly blesses those who choose to do things with excellence. You see, even when nobody else is around, we not only have to live with who we are but we have someone who sees our every move, knows our innermost thoughts and encourages us to be more, do better and live life as a light for others and to love and serve. If you are giving your best effort as often as possible this shouldn’t frighten you, God helps us hold ourselves accountable to be the best ‘us’ that we can be, choosing to do it with our whole heart.
Being a woman of excellence should not feel overwhelming or make you feel as though you need to do everything perfectly. The key is to learn from your mistakes and pat yourself on the back for what you did well. Consider having a daily life review at the end of each evening. What were you most proud of? What did you work really hard on? Where did you lack focus? How could you have been more kind? How might you have been more helpful to those around you? Where could you have been more prepared? Were there challenging circumstances that you did not handle well? How could you have handled the situation differently or maybe even prevented it from happening in the first place?
While many of us are familiar with setting goals and reviewing them on a monthly or yearly basis such as our birthday or New Year’s Day, I highly recommend taking a bit of time each day to ask yourself if who you are today is who you wanted to project out into the world. We are all still a work in progress. I do this daily and I find it immensely helpful. However, don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve really blown it in a particular area. Tomorrow is always a new day; Patience is an area that I’m always working on. Having a daughter has helped me slow down and become more present and also more patient. I sometimes find myself getting rubbed off by unnecessary things that linger on for longer than I’d like them to. Other times I can be so focused on what I’m trying to accomplish in a day that I forget to pay attention to those opportunities to help others or be a blessing in a way that my heart desires to be. These are two areas that are always a part of my daily review; it’s all about becoming more self-aware.
What areas are YOU looking to improve with regards to being a woman of excellence? Don’t feel inadequate, there is no judgment here. We are all works in progress pressing forward one day at a time closer to our goals. I believe being transparent helps others to feel ‘normal’ and realize that they’re not alone in their journey of personal growth.