Building personal discipline for excellence

Great performers, who have reached a level of excellence, understand the value of discipline and they’re really good at not getting bored with important habits. Excellence results from an ongoing commitment to planning, practicing and reviewing.

It’s a simple approach that will help you live the discipline for excellence in a way that feels right for you.

The tool will help you make sure that you’ve identified your key things you want to develop excellence in.

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What will it do?

The tool will help you make sure that you’ve identified your key things you want to develop excellence in. It’ll also help you create excellence-building habits.

Use this tool to share the key performance ingredients that you’re working on with those people who will be able to support and challenge you.

This tool won’t make you excellent over night, but it will help you have the best chance of finding out whether you can deliver excellence in the long run.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Take Aim

(if you can do this on a Thursday or a Friday in readiness for the next week then that’ll help you get the most out of this tool)

Look at your diary for next week and the key events that you want to get absolutely right.

Give a very focused answer for each question to your virtual coach when they ask you about your plan for delivering with excellence:

Your coach is going to say to you, “Which key element of your role am I going to see you pushing yourself to be excellent on next week?”. What’s your response?
Your coach is going to then ask, “How will I see that you’re pushing yourself to be excellent on this element? What will you be doing? What difference will I notice on you at specific times in the week?”
Your coach will then ask you to write down a simple three step plan that will make sure you’re focused and fully ready to deliver that single element with excellence. So, what’s the plan?




Finally, your coach will ask you, “Who else needs to know about that you’re looking to deliver with excellence on this specific element of your role?”. So, think about key colleagues who should know what you’re seeking to do and how they can support and challenge you.

2. Deliver with conviction

When the moment/s come to deliver with excellence, follow this simple pattern that sits at the heart of excellence:

  1. Deliver as if someone’s already guaranteed you that you’ll be excellent and your focus is absolutely the best thing you could have chosen.
  2. Keep focused on enjoying the challenge of seeing just how excellently you can deliver in your chosen situation – stay curious and open minded to discovering just how well you can perform.
  3. Stay in the moment and just perform – you’ve done the planning and the time for reviewing is coming up, so hold fire on any self-evaluation until performance time is over!

3. Be a reviewer of excellence

It’s now after the event and it’s a suitable time for you to have a chat again with your virtual coach (you’ve probably scheduled a brief review time anyway). So, be ready to answer the excellence questions with as much skill and honesty as possible, because these are the key to excellence:

Your coach’s first question is always going to be: “To what extent did you deliver with conviction by following each of the recommendations in step 2?” Give a % score for your answer…
Then, your coach will want you to answer, “What was the actual level you delivered at? You were aiming for excellence, how well do you think you actually delivered compared to where you’re aspiring to end up?” – so, give an expert evaluation of the level you achieved…
An important next question from the coach is, “How satisfied are you with both your preparation AND the level you delivered at?” – be fair to yourself here and focus on how satisfied you are with this step and how it’s helped you progress towards excellence in the long-term…

Preparation satisfaction

Performance satisfaction

Finally, your coach will want to know what your plans are for the next step/s to excellence – “Given how you prepared and what you achieved, what will you keep doing so that your level will be at least as good again next time AND what single thing will add the most value next time around?” – keep it simple…

Keep doing…

Add to the recipe…

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 steps listed above.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to start? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will I update what I’m choosing to focus on for my ‘discipline of excellence’ project? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit and this is what the review questions are all about.

    Check-in frequency and dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.