Want to become exceptional? Here’s how you do it.

I’ve never been a fan of mediocrity — and I bet that you’re the same way just because you’re here reading this blog. After all, you could just as easily be reading listsicles or trawling through your Facebook feed!

But it can be hard to bridge the gap between wanting to be exceptional at something and actually getting there. As I’m sure you know…

No one wakes up one day and becomes instantly exceptional.

To get amazing at something, it’s not enough to just wish that you were better at it, or even to make really serious efforts every now and again. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” This means you have to make it part of your life, to act the way an exceptional person would act again and again.

Think about it this way — when I first started running, I was terrible at it! If I thought to myself “Well, that’s that then. Guess I’m not meant to be a runner”, then I never would have gotten better. Instead, I stuck with it and ran every morning, and now I’m addicted to it.

Likewise, if you want to run an exceptional business, then you need to make sure that you act the way an exceptional business owner acts over and over again, in everything from answering emails to planning your sales funnel.

Make it automatic

The best way to make your exceptional actions a part of your day to day life are to build habits and systems around them. This is because that takes the choice and a large part of the mental effort out of doing it, which means that you’ll be much more likely to stick with your actions.

How can you make your actions automatic? In the case of me getting into running, I wouldn’t even give myself a chance not to do it in the morning. I laid out my running clothes the night before, had a breakfast in the fridge for when I got back, and I told a lot of people what I was doing so I would have the accountability. So take a few minutes and ask yourself “How can I make excellence a habit in my business? In my life?”

Caveat 1: Don’t mistake effort for progress

There are two really important caveats here — just because you’re doing a lot of work on something doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily making a lot of progress. So make sure that you’re really concentrating on those actions that are going to give you the biggest payback.

Caveat 2: Choose your exceptionality carefully

Be careful about what you choose to become exceptional at, and make sure it’s something that you really want. For instance, you could become an amazing chef … but if you’re interested in being a bookkeeper then that’s not going to do you much good. You don’t have to do something just because you’re good at it or have a natural talent for it. Your time and energy are precious, so invest them wisely!