Are you striving for excellence or are you a minimum requirement person? You might have to take a hard, painful look at yourself to answer that question. Honestly, the answer may vacillate between the two depending on the task at hand. Doing our excellent best in everything doesn't happen by accident. It starts with realizing that every task we set out to do is a project from God with God-designed objectives. Once we've settled on that, we have the right motivation for performing at a level of excellence.

Let's face it, some bosses are hard to work for. Sadly, some are borderline abusive and seriously lacking in people skills. Maybe you have had a boss like that. Most women who work at running a household and raising children know full well what it's like to live without accolades. So, what do you require of yourself when conditions are less than encouraging?

No matter what the work, how you perform your responsibilities has to be about who YOU are and not your circumstances or the people around you. God's Word tells us to do everything with Him as the focus. From scrubbing the kitchen floor to scrubbing in for surgery, from the jobs you love to the jobs you despise, ask yourself this one question: Could I do it better?

Back in the early seventies, there was a writer named Winston Lord who wrote speeches for Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. Whew. Speaking of tough bosses. Kissinger was a speech writer himself and was known to be a pretty harsh critic.

The Story Goes Like This... After Lord had submitted a first draft of a speech to Kissinger one night, he was called in the following morning for feedback. Kissinger asked, "Is this the best you can do?"

Lord thought so, but committed to try again. So, the writer hunkered down, made some revisions and submitted a second draft a couple of days later. Kissinger's response? "Are you sure this is the best you can do?"

Lord was really starting to think maybe he should quit this writing thing and go to work at his dad's hardware store. “Well, I really thought it was my best. I’ll try one more time,” he replied. This went on with each of the next EIGHT entries. Kissinger stuck with his original critique. "Is this the best you can do?"

Finally, fully exhausted, frustrated, and finger's crossed, Lord returned to Kissinger's office with the NINTH draft.

You guessed it. Kissinger asked him the same dreaded question, "Is this the best you can do?"

Lord, at the end of his rope, replied with great exasperation, "Henry! I've beaten my brains out - this is the ninth draft! I know it's the best I can do; I can't possibly improve one more word!!!"

Kissinger then looked at Lord and casually said, "Well, in that case, now I'll read it."

The Painful Lesson

While Kissinger's tactics may have seemed cruel and infuriating, the point is clear. Why would he give his time to read the speech if the speech writer hadn't given his all in writing it? With each submission, the writer was left with the realization that he could improve on his work. What area of your life are you giving less than your all?

We think of excelling as being better than someone else. Our success is based on competition and comparison. In God's dictionary, excellence is not to best someone else, it is simply to do your best. Think about it. If before the first submission, Mr. Lord had asked himself the question his boss asked him (9 times), he may have offered his excellent best right from the start.

What tasks have your hands found to do? Are you truly striving to give your most excellent best in all areas? Give yourself an honest look and then determine to do all things as unto the Lord.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might..."
Ecclesiastes 9:10a



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