I am currently at the NTOA Conference where yesterday afternoon I taught a 2 hour Embrace the Suck and Dare to Be Great breakout session and tomorrow I teach an 8 hour Excellence in Training workshop.
Yesterday morning Clint Bruce was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies. Clint is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he was a star linebacker for four years, and is a former Navy Seal. He is an amazing speaker with a powerful message and a great sense of humour. He is also a very successful entrepreneur. I would recommend going to his website at www.clintbruce.com and watching all three of the short video clips on the home page. (Make sure to scroll down and watch all three.)
One of the things Clint talked about was that in every mission (or training event), and in life there are five possible outcomes, each of which can be described with one word – Bad, Average, Good, Excellent, Elite.
He was very clear that Bad is never acceptable and if you think it is then do not come and talk to him after his presentation.
He explained that Average has no secrets and that Good is ok if it is not your purpose or your passion.
His challenge is to be Excellent, striving for Elite. He suggests that there is a continuum that runs from Excellence to Elite. The difference he says is that Excellence in quantifiable, you have achieved the milestone or the goal. Being Elite however, means that you are never done. You are never done working, pushing striving, failing, learning, and growing.
In Good to Great and the Social Sector Jim Collins talks about the philosophy that regardless of what you have accomplished or achieved you are always going to be good relative to what you can become. He says that greatness is inherently a dynamic process and not an end state, and the moment you start thinking of yourself as great, your slide to mediocrity will already have begun.
What you do as a trainer (academy, in-service, or field trainer) and in life is too important for you to settle for average, or even good. You must choose to embrace the pursuit of excellence and strive to be elite realizing that if you ever get to the point where you think you have arrived, then you have stopped doing the important work to improve and have begun to coast. The only direction you can coast for any prolonged period of time is downhill.
Clint’s message to all of us is to continually strive to be elite and remind yourself, “I am not done yet.”
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