This morning my amazing wife Angela was mentioning to me that she wants to be exceptional as a wife. Well, personally I think she is exceptional in many, many areas, and especially as a wife, so that comment took me a bit by surprise. It also got me thinking about what it is to be exceptional and why we might be more exceptional than we think.
As I thought about it, it occurred to me that there really are a number of myths surrounding "exceptionality" that may keep us from realizing how exceptional we are in many ways. I believe exceptionality isn't really found so much in having arrived, as being aware, often painfully aware, of where we really are and taking steps in the right direction. Do this enough in any area of life, on a daily basis, and eventually it will become evident that someone exceptional has walked among us. As my cousin Steve once told me, he isn't so impressed by the superstars as he is by the folks that just keep at it, day after day. Maybe that's the key, keeping the vision in mind and keeping at it day after day, developing our strengths, working on our weaknesses that hinder us and negatively impact others, building up those around us and adding value to ourselves and them every chance we get. Done consistently, that will indeed make for an exceptional life! For now, here is my list of some myths surrounding being exceptional.
Myths about being exceptional: Myth #1- Exceptional people have it all together. Truth: Exceptional people are often the most aware that they do not have it all together. It is what they do with this awareness that makes them exceptional. Myth #2- Exceptional people do not have weaknesses, like others. Truth: Exceptional people are usually very aware of their weaknesses. In the areas where those weaknesses have a negative impact on their potential and those around them, they seek remedy for those choices. In the areas of their gifts and abilities, they do not worry over weak areas, but instead put all their energy into the areas of their strengths, where they can reach the greatest potential and do the most good! Myth #3- Exceptional people are just born that way. Truth: Most of the exceptional people I have been around or read of will readily admit that anything meaningful they have ever achieved was done against their natural tendencies, as they constantly sought out good thinking, good practice, good attitudes and other like-minded people to learn from and walk alongside. For most, this required intentional daily commitment. Becoming exceptional, like anything else, takes time. It’s like the man who said “I’ve worked all my life to become an overnight success!” An exceptional life is nothing more than a series of exceptional days and the good news is that each of us can make each day exceptional by choosing to grow daily in the areas that make for exceptional living. Each time we give energy to becoming better at some area that hinders us or others; each time we give energy to gaining new insights in understanding and skill in our areas of strength; each time we “keep on keeping on”, no matter how long it is taking or how far away the goal seems; every time we meet with others who are on the growth journey to share experiences, encourage best practices, think together on how to be better, etc., we are being exceptional. It may not be obvious yet, but keep doing that long enough and one day it will be seen that you lived an exceptional life!
Keep at it! You may be more exceptional than you think!