I just came back from attending a funeral ceremony of someone known to me deep in the village around the slopes of Mt. Elgon – the reason why this week’s Focus Talk has been published a few hours late. While at the funeral, apart from mourning the deceased and showing my solidarity with the bereaved family, I was also learning. As mourners flocked in in their hundreds, one would be forgiven for thinking a prominent politician had passed on.
This funeral was not the usual village funeral. Vehicles streamed in the compound in their numbers. The parking lot was full. It was evident that she had been a people person, if the number of mourners and social status diversity are anything to go by. I used to hear that she was a football fan of one of our local football clubs prior to her demise. Yes, it was a ‘she’. I never took it serious especially being a female fan. So I had brushed off the matter. I am also a fan of some sports and I have always known that it can never be so serious; after all, no one knows that a fan like me exists down here. In this funeral I was taught something different. That it is possible for someone to pursue his/her passion and do it so excellently that he/she becomes outstanding at it.
She had not been an ordinary fan; rather, a devoted and outstanding one. A fan who was eulogized by the team’s executives as a peace maker. Imagine a female football fan raising her head above the perceived hooliganism that characterizes football fans and being regarded as a peace maker among the fans. A fan who got the team’s coach visiting her on her death bed. A fan who got other fans throng the hospital on a lorry to donate blood for her when the hospital had called for more blood. A fan who got the players display ‘get well soon’ messages before start of every game since she was hospitalized. A fan whose good portion of the hospital bill that had run into millions got paid courtesy of the club efforts. As I watched buses ferrying fans from all over, finding their way into the tiny village, I saw the epitome of excellence in someone’s passion.
I quickly remembered the sentiments of Martin Luther King, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” It pays to be outstanding in whatever one does. Excellence is not a preserve of certain groups of people. It can be exercised at every level of our action. We can all excel in anything that we touch, only if we choose and commit to do so. Excellence is a measure of your achievements, not relative to other people’s achievements but relative to your own capabilities. The question to always ask at our various levels of action is, ‘is this the best I can do?’
Excellence begets success. It makes success follow you instead of you pursuing it. All successful people have only mastered the magic that excellence does. If it is business you are doing, do it excellently. Do it outstandingly. If it’s at your work place, perform your duties with excellence, perform them outstandingly. What exactly do people remember you for? What will be said about your deeds when you are gone? What is it you have done outstandingly in this world? Do not always stop your game at average, go a step further to outstanding.
Dare to raise your head above the heads of the ordinary average performers and the difference shall be clear. God created you uniquely so that you do not rest where everyone is. You pick your path and pursue it to its excellent conclusion. Put in that extra effort. Do not be ordinary, but extraordinary. Do not just identify your passion, live it and do so outstandingly. Reveal yourself through excellence in everything you do. Do not aim at meeting targets and expectations; aim at exceeding on then because YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Trainer | Motivational Speaker | Team Builder | Life Coach | Mentor