THE EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE
A Blueprint for Organizational, Team, and Individual Success
Everyone can be excellent at something! Each of us has been placed on this planet for a specific purpose. The secret to a fulfilling life lies in our discovery of that purpose and our passionate pursuit of it.
The past thirty years of study has taught me that building a life of excellence is a lot like building a house. It requires a blueprint to guide you along the way, a strong foundation upon which to build, a structure that will provide balance and strength, and a sturdy roof to keep it aligned and hold it together. My experience has also taught me that most of us don't invest the time it takes to consider such things of life. Many of us aren't even aware that we should. We plan our projects. We plan our vacations. We plan our parties. We passionately plan our weddings. We may even plan every detail for tomorrow. But too many of us don't plan for excellence. We should. A life that strives for excellence becomes a life that matters.
I don't presume to know everything there is to know about excellence. I am a perpetual student of the topic. I consider myself an excellentologist, one who studies and strives to practice excellence. What I do know is that when we pursue excellence with passion, life gets better. Others become inspired by our pursuit; and we do too. We become energized by a positive strength that propels us forward, in spite of the obstacles, in spite of the challenges, and in spite of the failures, all of which will inevitably come. We learn that excellence is a journey, not a destination. When we encounter failures and setbacks, we learn to rejoice in them because they bring us new insight into the quest. Imagine reaching a point in your own life's journey in which you're able to rejoice in your failures. The mountaintops are for celebration and visioning, but the valleys are where we learn and grow. Since life is full of both, we might as well learn to enjoy them both.
As we journey through this discussion together, we'll take the elements of my model one at a time, discuss the concept, and then apply it to five environments - an organization, a team, a church, a family, and an individual. My hope is that when you see how this model can be applied across five diverse environments, you'll be convinced that you can apply it in your life as well.
A word about the church, family and individual environments; I've used many examples from my own experiences to illustrate key points in each chapter. Consequently, you'll readily identify my perspective on life, religion, and other social issues. My hope is that you will view my perspective not as an attempt to persuade you to it, but simply as an attempt to help you better understand the concepts of excellence. When I mention the church, I'll be using examples from a Christian church, because that's where I've applied the model. These concepts can be applied in any church environment - just as they can in the Christian church.
Similarly, in chapter 18 where I apply the model to America, some of my political bias may come through in spite of my sincere attempt to avoid it. Again, my hope is that you will not view those comments as an attempt to persuade you to my political point of view; rather, you will view them as my attempt to demonstrate how the model can be applied to a country as well. Chapter 18 was one of my most enjoyable chapters to write. I hope you enjoy its journey as much as I did.
I encourage you to view this book as a field manual to help you experience excellence in whatever pursuits you undertake. As you read each chapter, consider the things you're trying to accomplish now and compare them to the suggestions in the book. Make notes as things come to mind that make sense to you. Remember that excellence is a journey, not a destination. Our conversations throughout the book are intended to help move you in the right direction on your journey toward excellence.
My prayer is that, after reading and studying this book, you'll be closer to your life's pursuits that you are now; that you'll be reminded that excellence is a noble and worthy pursuit, one that brings joy and fulfillment to everyone it touches; and that it will change your life, and all those around you, for the better if you let it.
God bless you in your quest. May the wind be at your back. Enjoy the journey!
C. David Crouch