Maintenance or Excellence

According to the Random House Dictionary to "maintain" is, "to keep in existence or continuance." To "excel" is, "to be better or finer than (others)." I was thinking about the difference between maintaining and excelling as I was mowing the lawn. I can cut the grass, keep it from turning into a jungle and just maintain it. Or, I can spend some extra time and edge, fertilize, water the dry patches, dig out by hand the weeds that the "weed and feed" fertilizer didn't catch and make the lawn look a little nicer. I can go above and beyond-add that little extra effort that makes a difference. I can pursue excellence with my lawn so that it is "better or finer" than my neighbors.

What areas in our lives are we just maintaining when we should be excelling? You might not even have a lawn. You might not even care if your lawn makes it through the summer. But there are probably other areas that you care about that could use some edging, fertilizer and weeding. Think about your relationships. Are you improving, nurturing and working on your relationships or are you just maintaining-keeping them in existence? What about your job or career? Are you looking at better ways of doing things, making recommendations, improving your skills and pursing excellence? Or are you just continuing on, showing up, gathering a paycheck, doing the minimum and hoping something better comes along that will pay more?

Doing just a little more and pushing yourself towards excellence does take a little more time. There is a sacrifice and investment that comes with it. You might have to pick and choose what items you are OK with maintaining and what items you should excel in. But that should be a conscious decision that you make. In most cases, the time and energy spent in the pursuit of excellence isn't that much more than the time you are going to put in anyway. Excellence is more of a mind set. The satisfaction of a job well done is well worth the effort. Push yourself to get out of the box and do better.

Now if I could only remember who borrowed my weed eater!