Law #1: Personal Excellence
I promised in the previous article that I will take you through the laws. This week I start with the first law, which is Personal Excellence. The world is looking for people of excellence, who exhibit this attribute in everything they do. What is it that made the king stop at David, and settle for his brand, the answer is personal excellence.
David activated the law of excellence
Personal excellence is a fundamental pillar in building an effective personal brand. The vacancy that was created was not for just a musician but for an excellent musician. There is difference between noise and music. The king did not want noise, he wanted someone who knew what he was doing, and hence the clarity for someone who plays well. There was a young boy who was virtually unknown by the majority of the people, including the king himself but he was known by someone who captured his brand well. The young boy was known for excellence.
Excellence opens doors for you
Excellence separates you from the rest of the players in the world. The goal of branding is differentiation and standing out. The world has opportunities tied to no-one’s name but to those who can play excellently. You do not need to know anyone in top offices, but they need to know you through excellence. Excellence is a lifestyle, it is a way of doing things. That is why the great Greek Philosopher Aristotle is often quoted for saying, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Once excellence is a habit, it becomes your default setting. You do not have to think or plan to do things excellently, you just do them excellently. Make excellence your default setting.
The best or nothing
The phrase sounds familiar right? That is Mercedes signature. For Mercedes, the star emblem is more than just a badge but their commitment to give you, “the best or nothing.” They would rather do nothing than do anything that is below excellent. The Mercedes brand has remained one of the dominant brands wowing customers with amazing experience. But how have they managed to sustain their commitment to the best or nothing;
Innovation: Mercedes-Benz has remained one of the innovative companies which has continuously explored and developed newer ideas to enable their clients, to experience the potential of the road ahead.
Performance: Anyone who owns a Mercedes brand will attest to the fact that the brand regardless of model has high performance. The more advanced models also provide better performance. When you are driving a Mercedes it’s no longer just a question of moving from point A to B, but also the experience of moving from point A-B.
Design: Mercedes-Benz thrives on a combination of artistry and engineering to create vehicles that are mouth-watering from the tip to the tail end.
Safety: Mercedes-Benz continuously develops technology that enhances the safety of its clients by helping to protect and prevent them from collisions.
Environment: The company is moving to electric cars, in a bid to reduce the negative effects the automotive industry has had on the environment over the years.
The enemy of excellence is negligence. Negligence is in two ways, the first one — a person knows what has to be done but chooses to do the thing in the wrong way, and second one — a person does not know what is supposed to be done but still proceeds to perform the task.
Be clear on the task if you want to be a person of excellence. It is always better to ask than to maintain silence and do the wrong thing.
Your work should reflect that you have indeed applied your mind to the task and have executed it to the best of your ability. Speed is a very important component in business but the workmanship exhibited in the completing the task is equally important.
Take time to assess your own work and ask yourself if it reflects the best in you. Like John Deer make a commitment that, “I will never put my name on a product that does not have the best that is in me.” Harness the input of your colleagues so that they can give you honest feedback about your work and seek ways to improve.
Negligence is one of the fastest ways that enables you to lose credibility, and damage your personal brand. The first thing people question after seeing your work is competence; “does this person know what they are doing?” The sad part is that negative publicity moves faster than positive publicity.
“Father I can’t’ see the world”
You may by now know Andrea Bocelli one of the finest voices in the world. One of his songs, “Time to Say Goodbye with Sarah Brightman,” is one of the best-selling songs of all time. He has done several other songs that have sold millions of copies globally. But his story is not one that was easy. Surgeons advised his parents to abort him before he was born warning that he was likely to have multiple birth defects.
The parents went against that advice, and decided to keep him. Andrea was born with congenital glaucoma. He fell blind at a tender age of twelve. Not understanding what was happening he had a conversation with father;
Andrea: I can’t see the world.
Father: Even though you can’t see the world, you can make the world see you.
What a profound conversation! Make the world see you! That advice changed his life for good. Today Andrea is one of the world’s greatest opera singers and has sold over 80 million records! He has done collaborations with some of the world’s finest talent like Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran among others. He became a person of excellence, and built a powerful brand, that has made the world stop and look at him.
Excellence is a choice
Excellence has nothing to do with your background. You can choose to be a person of excellence. Andrea did not have the finest of start in life, but in spite of the difficulties he moved on, and rose to become a global musical icon. Even the musician, and shepherd, David did not have an amazing background. You may also not have an amazing background, but I have good news for you below.
God chooses and uses the unlikely
David was not his father’s favourite. Yes! This can be deciphered from what transpired when Samuel was about to anoint a king to replace Saul, whom God had rejected. Jesse called his seven (7) sons who were stronger, and possibly even much more handsome than David who had been committed to the wilderness to tend for the flock. In 16:5, Jesse and Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.
Which serious father forgets that he has another son. Jesse never bothered to call this young boy for the anointing session, because he had already disqualified him. Here is a point; do you know that it is easy for people to disqualify you, and even to overlook you for opportunities in life simply because of their perception of you? Exactly, this is what happened in this case.
There is something interesting that happens in this story, the ones whom Jesse had chosen could not satisfy God’s definition of Saul’s replacement. What happens next in this story is even more interesting. In 16:11-13 a twist takes place, “Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said.
“We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the LORD said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.”(NLT)
I want to speak to someone who has been overlooked several times; do not lose heart. God does not forget people, He remembers people. David had been forgotten by his own family but God remembered him. There are blessings that have your name on them, such that no one can take them away from you.
The anointing oil used then was liquid in state when it was poured in, but the moment it was in, it settles and solidifies. It will only get to the liquid state when anointing the right person. This explains why there was no oil when Samuel tried to anoint the other people.
What is yours is will remain yours; no one will take it away from you. No matter how much people hate you, what is yours will remain yours. Your name will be called and invited to showcase your gift and talent. No one can stop you, they can only delay you. God has a tendency of blessing people who were often despised publicly. David was promoted in the face and presence of his brothers.
David’s story illustrates a point I want you to keep at heart, God chooses and uses the unlikely. This means you are the right person to face the Goliath. I should not be writing this article because I have no journalism background. I have a “C” in English at O-Level through to university, could not even speak proper English till I finished university.
I am an author of over 20 books and still counting; God uses the unlikely. I decided to face my Goliath.
I want to close this point by what Andrea Bocelli once said, “In my opinion, the only way forward in this world is with faith, which not only explains the reason for life but also fills it with joy and hope. Faith transforms what would be a tragedy into a marvellous story with a happy ending. If all of this is reflected in my singing, how happy that would make me.”
Serve with excellence
This is where many people miss it. Once a door has been opened they relax, and begin to do things in a mediocre way. I take seriously every engagement that I get. I have done free speaking engagements as part of my corporate social responsibility. However, when I go for an unpaid engagement, I still speak as if I am being paid. Why? My next opportunity maybe in that audience. It has worked.
Several times, I hear people telling me, “Arthur, you once came through and spoke at our church event that day, and that is where I got your number.”
Excellent service will help you develop a formidable personal brand. No matter how small the task maybe, I want you to serve with excellence. It opens doors for you.
David served excellently
The young man was called into the royal palace and began serving his master with diligence. David never applied for a job, but a job looked for him. “So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” (16:19) Imagine a word coming from the Presidential Office to please send your son or daughter to work for him.
When David started working, he did not just work, he surpassed expectations. David had been called into the royal palace as a musician, but I want you to observe what happens when David starts serving him.
“So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armour bearer.” (16:21) David earned Saul’s love because of the quality of his service, and not only did he become the king’s personal musician, he also became an amour bearer.
Eugene Peterson even puts it more clearly in the MSG, “David came to Saul and stood before him. Saul liked him immediately and made him his right-hand man.”
David became a right-hand man. Where Saul was, David was. Imagine from being just a musician.
Don’t pray for promotion, promote yourself
David never prayed for promotion, but rather he became a person who no one could forgo for promotion. He became the talent Saul never wanted to waste, but to have closely.
Promotion followed David. Don’t pursue promotion because it is simply a consequence. Become a person of excellence, and the result becomes promotion in whatever you do.
Saul could not even hide his joy with the service David was delivering. He even got what many people envy in the world of employment, permanent employment. Not just that, Saul wanted David to stay with him. Look at what Saul does, “Saul sent word back to Jesse: “Thank you. David will stay here. He’s just the one I was looking for. I’m very impressed by him.” (16:22)
Other people sue for promotion, but others are sought by promotion. What David never asked for, he got. A permanent seat in the palace, and even an opportunity to experience royal life earlier since he had already been anointed as Saul’s successor. Saul was also not aware that he was being served by his successor. Imagine David’s humility in service. This is lacking in today’s world.
Test your effectiveness
How impressive are you in your service? Will your boss fight to keep you on board when a motion to fire you is moved? If you want to see how effective you are in business, do the following exercise below;
Type your resignation letter, and email it to your boss tonight, and
Wait for the response
What are you talking about? That is the immediate reaction for some people to this simple exercise. You know very well that if you resign, they will happily accept your resignation, and even send an immediate response to you wishing you the best in your future endeavours.
But, for some people, they will immediately receive a phone call being invited for a meeting to discuss the resignation.
To be continued . . .
Law #2 is coming in the next week.
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote and performance speaker, business strategy facilitator commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, sales, business leadership and strategy. Arthur is the author of the “Personal Development Toolkit”, “Keys to Effective Time Management” among other inspirational books. Follow him on social media, or WhatsApp him on +263718867255 to join his groups where he posts or email [email protected]