Showing posts with label Excellence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Excellence. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Personal Strengths of a 12 Year-Old Boy

Ned, watching birds with his camera (photo by Charm Peterson)
Last weekend I was in charge of a bird-watching (aka “birding”) field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The 100 participants ranged in age from 12 to 92. Talk about diversity!

Often when preteens or teens attend, they’re accompanying parents who are eager to introduce them to the world of birds.

In this instance, two 12 year-old boys brought their mothers along. I knew one of the boys, Ned, because he’s a member of our local bird club. He’s been an avid birder for two years and has accompanied my husband Lee and me for Audubon bird counts.

Ned is not like most boys his age. As I watched him in action over the weekend, I was awed by his maturity and the personal strengths he exhibited.

Ned doesn't use binoculars to look at birds. While this is a must-have piece of equipment for most birders, Ned uses his camera exclusively. He’s taught himself to expertly zoom in and out to view a bird and take a picture at the same time. Pretty ingenious. I've never seen anyone else do that.

People who are serious birders keep a list of birds they've seen. When they encounter a new species, they call it a “life bird.” Some folks count birds that they barely see because they’re eager to add to their numbers. Not Ned. He holds himself to a very high standard. He only counts birds that he can photograph. He wants documented proof that he’s seen a specific species. As handy as he is with his camera, he’s been able to get a shot of almost every new species he encounters.

The host hotel offered a hot breakfast every morning, starting at 6:00AM. My husband Lee and I arrived at 6:10 both days. Ned was already there, by himself (his mother and buddy slept in), finishing up his morning meal. No one had to prod this kid to get up. He wanted to make the most of his time, so he arrived at the earliest possible moment. After clearing his table off, he scurried out the door to stand on the large deck just outside the breakfast room, looking for birds and capturing pictures of the sunrise.

Unlike many kids who have the attention span of a gnat, Ned was able to be still for long periods at a time and just WAIT. Whether he was sitting on a bench waiting for the sunrise or out in the field waiting for birds to show up, he seemed to just enjoy the moment and relish in whatever came next.

Because of the number of attendees, we divided into smaller groups for the field trips. No matter which group Ned was in, he brought an infectious enthusiasm that spread to others. This young man LOVES birding. He’d rather do that than almost anything else. You won’t see him with any electronic gadgets, playing video games or texting his friends. When we’d mention species that we might see on a particular trip and it was a new bird for him, Ned’s excited face lit up the room.

Yes, Ned left quite an impression on everyone, a very positive impression. You might say he was a phenomenon.

He certainly inspired me to appreciate the beauty around me - and life in general - in a more profound way.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Excellence In a Car Repair Shop

What words come to mind when you hear “car repair shop?”

Shoddy work? Rip-off? Shady owner?

None of those descriptions apply to the place I go.

We’ve been taking our cars to the same auto repair shop for more than 20 years. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? The first time we walked into Custom Car Care, my husband – who is very picky when it comes to car maintenance - was immediately impressed because the place was clean and organized.

We quickly learned that the owner had high standards and was someone we could trust. The technicians know what they’re doing, and I don’t find dirt or grime in my car when I pick it up. Even though it’s not the cheapest place in town, I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. Everyone there is dedicated to excellence, and because of that, I recommend this shop to everyone I know.

It takes a lot of work to be the best. You have to set high standards, and you have to live up to them. Sometimes, “good enough” can seem appealing. Why make the extra effort when you’re not sure if anyone cares – or will notice the difference? The rewards for your best work aren’t always obvious, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be better off if you make the extra effort. For all those reasons, many people take the easy way out and just do the minimum.

But you know, there are big payoffs for excellence, both tangible and intangible. You can see the results of high quality, and doing your best feels better than just getting by. When you take pride in what you do, it shows and people will notice. You stand out because mediocre performance is much more common, so you’ll appreciate the recognition you get because of your efforts. And you know what else? When you’re doing something as well as you can, your life is more meaningful. You enjoy it more.

That’s the approach we’ve taken for the past 25 years here at PSS. It’s extremely gratifying to receive unsolicited emails and phone calls from customers who rave about the quality of our product and our technical support. Many of them have worked with us for almost 20 years!

An example of an email that came in recently to our technical support team:

“I just want to thank you again for all the help you provided on this employee satisfaction project. The feedback from the execs has been outstanding. They were very impressed with the 20/20 Insight assessment tool and the wealth of usable information we could provide.  

“This could not have happened without you. Your expertise, guidance and creativity from the beginning to set this up, tweak the system, trouble shoot with me and our IT person are immeasurable. You also have a terrific knack in translating the technical to lay language that made it very easy for me to understand and use.

“In other words, I think you are the BEST! I cannot thank you enough. You both have a very calming and reassuring approach.” 

These days, it’s hard to find a small company that’s been in business 25 years and has consistently delivered excellence. We’re proud to be one of those companies.

Our products include: ProStar Coach, 20/20 Insight, and Surveys for Small Business. Check them out if you’re looking for first-class assessment and development tools!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." – Aristotle
“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." - Helen Keller
“Everything we do has our own personal signature on it. So we want to do it as well as we possibly can." - Mike Krzyzewski

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Excellence - Set High Standards for What You Do

It’s tempting to take the easy way out and just do the minimum to get by. Most people take this approach. But when you set and meet high standards, you can take pride in what you’ve accomplished – and you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd. Applying the insights in this video, you'll be ready for new opportunities that come your way.

What does “excellence” look like to you?

Think of times in your life when you’ve achieved excellence. How did that feel?

Please leave a comment and share where you’ve learned about striving for excellence in your own life.