You are not defined by your actions but by how you do them. Show up as a person worthy of trust and respect by doing everything you can to commit to excellence. Kofi Nartey shares ten amazing tips and tools to pursue excellence in every aspect of your life and business. Learn how to nurture relationships, build a good reputation, create lasting connections, and design a thriving lifestyle with excellence as your North Star.
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What Happens When You Commit To Excellence?
10 Ways to Use Excellence to Change Your Life and Business
I'm super excited. We're going to talk about commitment to excellence. I'm sure you guys have heard about that from the Raiders. I spent a few minutes with the Raiders. I first heard about the commitment to excellence through that organization. We're going to expand on that and tell you why excellence needs to be your new best friend. I'm going to give you ten amazing tips and tools to help bring excellence to everything that you're doing.
I love sharing things like this that hit across all industries and all aspects of your life. We aren't truly defined by what we do but rather by how we do it. Excellence is a critical part of what you do and how you do it. If we can improve that how in everything that you do, it translates to what you're doing. You bring that to your business, life, parenting, friendships, relationships, and workouts. That how becomes how you define yourself. Excellence is one of the fastest ways to improve your how.
For the real estate industry, we have been in transitioning or shifting market. It's settling down. It's balancing out or whatever words you want to use, but most industries have some aspect, time or period where there is a shift or change. Even in your own personal life, there is a shift, change or moment where you have to stop, brace yourself, and prepare for what's next.
There are some times when things are going good, and we have to think about how we are going to take them to great. That change or shift is usually not a huge shift but a small shift. Let's jump right into this topic and talk about how excellence needs to be your new best friend, and excellence is something that you want to bring to your how that will impact your what and everything that you're doing in life.
I gave this talk to my own team and firm. I had a chance to deliver the same talk at an event called Leaders in Luxury. It's a real estate event. It was at the Four Seasons in Denver. They have beautiful residences. We did a cool tour up there, and the feedback from that was so moving that I wanted to share it with you, my Full Mogul community. I first heard about commitment to excellence with the Raiders organization. I spent a very short time there but as I always tell you, there's something to pull from every experience, whether it's a short amount of time or a long amount of time. Commitment to excellence is one of them.
I'm going to start with a quote from Vince Lombardi, "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence." We want to look at, are the things that you're doing being done in an excellent way? If not, how can you improve them? I'm going to run through these ten things. Make sure you go back to it and share it with somebody else that needs it. Let's jump right in.
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Pay Attention To Details
Number one, pay attention to details. It's all about the little things. You have heard about paying attention to details before. What I'm going to add to it is to extract the details. When we're talking about how we do things, there is surface-level communication as to how we do things and what we do. There are steps A, step B, and step C. What if we have A, 1 to 9, B, 1 to 9, and C, 1 to 9? Each step needs to be unpacked so that you can extract the opportunities to elevate the details that you are paying attention to and bringing to what you're doing.
For example, if you're working out. I can say, “Yes, I'm going to have an excellent workout.” That’s way too generic.” What does that mean? Does that mean I'm going to start earlier? What does that mean? Does that mean I'm going to start at 6:00 instead of 7:00. I go to the gym. What am I going to do? Am I going to start with a warm-up? Am I going to start with specific numbers of specific sets for my warm-up? Am I going to do specific weights with specific reps? What is it that I can get very detailed about to elevate the excellence that I'm bringing to it?
You have to do that in life and your jobs. Break down the process to the level of minutia. You don't do this every single day, but if you're looking at ways to be excellent or to elevate what you're doing, you have to unpack each step, each sub-step, and each sub-sub-step to what you're doing. At that point, you could see how to make it better and excellent.
Be Consistent And Persistent
Number two, be consistent and persistent. When we talk about excellence even in luxury real estate, part of that is predictability. That means that you're doing things in a consistent way. That's excellence. Excellence isn't winning one game all season. It's winning consistently. It's performing at your highest and best level consistently. It's taking each step each day in your job and relationship to perform at the best level that you know how at that point in time.
Even in our process with our employees, our friendships or our clients, the other part of being consistent is focusing on not just completion because completing every task is a part of excellence but the journey. The journey is what can make it excellent beyond being normal. Completion is important, but the journey each step of the way is even more important.
I'm in LA in my studio here in Beverly Hills. If I hop on a flight to New York and I'm sitting in commercial seating, I'm going to get there soon. If I'm sitting in first class, it's a different journey and experience. It is leveled up and it is approaching excellence. What aspects of the journey can you elevate as you're chasing down completion? If you don't complete the task, most of the time, that's not excellence.
Always Be On The Road To Be Better
Number three, always be on the road to better. Michael Jordan once said, “I never lost a game. I just ran out of time.” You guys may have heard that before. If we approach each thing that we're doing in life like that, we can always be on the road towards better. I have an acronym for failure. Some of my greatest successes in life are failures, even around Michael Jordan. I listed Michael Jordan's house which had been on the market for years. The house is in Chicago.
I listed it for one year and brought more attention, more video views, and more media than anyone ever had. I changed firm and the listing stayed with my old firm. I had to move on and the property is still for sale. Some people could say that's a failure. I take the word fail as an acronym for Find All Important Lessons. I learned a lot from that and it became a great success for my overall career, the impact that it had, the visibility that it gave me, and even the things that I learned around marketing a property at that level.
Win or lose, ask for feedback. You have blind spots. Even if you think, “This failed because of this. It didn't work because of that.” There may be some things that you missed that you will only extract by asking for feedback. Whether you think you did it right or wrong, ask for feedback and leave it open-ended. Don't guide the person that you're asking. That's the only way to get true unfiltered feedback, and tell them that's what you want. You might even have to do blind surveys because some people don't have the guts to tell you how it is. Some people won't call you out on what you're doing wrong. Make sure you have ways to get that true feedback.
Self-Respect And Pride
Number four, self-respect and pride. What I mean by this is a couple of things. Show up to be excellent. Have enough self-respect and pride in anything that you're doing. Whatever you show up for, you're showing up to be excellent. I'll give you an example. It's a fun story. Some of you know that I did acting for years. One of the films that I worked on was Fast and Furious. I was in Fast and Furious 4. Go back, and watch it. I'm in a handful of scenes. You will see me had a good time.
I had the great experience of going to Mexico with a handful of the cast members, Paul Walker, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Vin Diesel, and a lot of extras in this little town in Mexico. We had a chance to hang out that month. We were down there. We get to know each other a lot better. Vin Diesel is a superstar. He had his own huge trailer. He had a separate trailer that had a whole gym in it. He let me workout in it. Thanks for that. That was fun. He was always late to set. Vin knows this. The people who worked with him know he was always late to set.
What he told me one day was, “Kofi, I'm showing up to be immortalized.” What he meant was he was going to be on camera. This is going to be a movie that plays and plays. He wanted to make sure that he had his lines ready the way he wanted, his wardrobe the way he wanted to look, and the feel and the energy of the character were right where he wanted for him to be then immortalized.
When we show up in life, appointments, meetings, as a parent and in relationships, we're showing up at that moment to be immortalized. Make sure that you have enough self-pride and respect for yourself to show up with a level of excellence and pride. On top of that, what's your minimum standard? This is still part of number four. What's your minimum standard for that self-respect and pride?
I will give you another quick story. My wife and I took our daughter to Sweden. My wife coached the soccer team. She's a former World Cup player, and our daughter is playing club soccer. My wife put together a team that we took to the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, which was an amazing epic experience. My daughter had three goals in the tournament. She played extremely well. Part of what I told her when we got back was, “You are not the same player now that you were before we left. You have a new bar. You have a new standard. At this point, you can't drop below that bar. You will be doing yourself a disservice.”
When we think about our own lives, the journeys, the jobs that we've worked, the experiences that we've had, the failures and opportunities to find all important lessons, those create new bars and standards for you to live by, stand on and build from. Why is it important to remember that? It’s because we all have moments of challenge.
I woke up one morning and my back was a little bit sore. I worked out the day before. My knees were a little bit sore. I came in. I have clients that are happy and clients that are upset. There are always going to be challenges and things that pull your energy down. Sometimes they are heavier and deeper than that like the loss of a family member, relapses, and things that you shouldn't be doing in life, but those are the most important moments to remember that you have a new bar. You don't fall or slip back into that old self or that old way of being. Those things are detrimental to your health, life and sanity. Screw that. There is a new you and a new bar. Don't go below it. Keep building on what you've done.
Number five is respecting others. We talked about self-respect. The other part is respecting others. This is part of excellence. We have to respect others. We have to respect their time. Time is one of the greatest luxuries that we have. If you are being excellent, usually, that means you are doing something in service to others. You are working with others in some capacity. You are delivering value in some capacity. You have to be respectful of others and their times.
You also have to respect other people's intelligence. This is tied to being excellent. That means respecting their excellence, which means respecting their intelligence. Being straightforward and honest with people is a way of respecting their intelligence. Don't beat around the bush. Don't make up excuses. People can handle great information, but even bad information, challenging information, or difficult information if you are straightforward and honest. Don't be patronizing. Respect people's intelligence and they will respect you more for that.
Take Ownership And Responsibility For Your Reaction
Number six, take ownership and responsibility for your actions. You can only control what you take responsibility for. How many times have I had conversations with people where the first thing they want to say is what somebody else did wrong. They are blaming somebody else for their own actions and life choices. The life choices that you made are life choices that you made. They may have been impacted or influenced by other people. If you don't take control of your narrative, outcome, and daily steps that lead to your big goals, you will not reach your fullest potential, and you will not be able to strive through excellence.
Whatever it is, own it. Own the process. Don't be married to the negative aspects. Don't be married to the setbacks. Own the idea that I control what my next move is going to be and what my next step is going to be. I don't give a whatever about what happened in the first part of my day, last week, last year, or when I was seven years old on the playground. I don't care. I control the next thing that I'm going to do in this next moment. I take responsibility for that. If I mess up, I also will own it. I will apologize. I will learn from it. I will grow from it. I will make it better if I can, and I will build from there, but you have to take ownership and responsibility for that.
Number seven is similar but different. Be accountable to yourself and others. We achieve accountability by habituation, training, and doing things over and over. I think it was Aristotle that said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit.” We have to make sure that we are practicing working on feeding our brains the information, tools, tips, and the things that we need to stay in the right place to be working from the right mental standpoint on a daily basis.
Super simple life hacks. I was listening to a good friend of mine, Sharran. He got an amazing podcast called The Business School. One of the things he said on there was he listens to a podcast every morning. Here I am listening to his podcast, and he was talking about how he listens to a podcast every morning. What have I done over the last few months was every day and every morning in my car, it doesn't matter if my jam is on, was when the radio comes on, I'm putting on a podcast. Thanks, Sharran, for that.
I'm listening to some great podcasts, but it's every day. Its habits. It's doing what other people won't do so you can live how other people will never have the opportunity to live. In one of those podcasts, I also heard a great takeaway, “Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.” Let that sink in. Let success and excellence be second nature to you.
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Number eight, TTIN. What does TTIN stand for? The Time Is Now. This came from my days at Cal. I played football at Cal. One season leading up to the season, they gave the whole team t-shirts that had, “TTIN, The Time Is Now.” That stuck with me. When we talk about excellence, the next thing that we're going to do, and our full mogul journey, we're going to have a certain amount of information, tools, and resources, but at a certain point, it's time to go. It's time to do it. That time is now.
Start your commitment to excellence now. Even if you don't know how it's going to apply to all aspects of your life, every part of your job, every part of your career, every part of your relationship, there's at least one part of your day-to-day, the balance of your day or your day tomorrow, where you know you can elevate that thing to excellence. I know it's in you. You know it's in you. Start now and ask yourself every day, every hour, and every minute, “Is this the highest and best use of my time?”
Be Passionate About Excellence
Number nine, be passionate about excellence. You have to obsess over excellence. Obsessing over excellence means you're obsessing over the highest and best version of yourself. I'm telling you, you reach a certain point, tools, education and experiences. The highest and best version of you is excellence. That is what we're striving for. That's what we want to unlock and unleash. You have to be passionate about excellence.
For those of you who are running companies, teams, organizations and households, keep this in mind. This is a quote from Steve Jobs. I love it because it's true, “Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” They are okay with mediocrity and half-assing it. If you are an environment creator, culture creator, running a team, a household or a business, you can try to get those people to conform. Better yet, you can change the environment so it exudes excellence. It screams excellence. It's a culture of excellence. Anyone who's a part of that environment has no choice but to conform. Otherwise, they need to get off the ship or you need to kick them off the ship because that's part of life.
If Not Excellence, Then What?
Number ten, if not excellence, then what? This is not something that is truly a choice. If you're tuning in to this show, that’s because you want to unlock and unleash your full potential across all aspects of your life. That means that doing things in an excellent way at an excellent level is not a choice. It's an obligation. When we look around while walking down the street in our daily lives, we see many people with so much stress, pain, and tension in their eyes and faces.
When you talk to people about life, people suffer from so much depression because they haven't had the opportunity, the willpower, the desire or the commitment to strive for excellence. Mediocrity leads to underperformance, which leads to not utilizing your potential, which leads to disappointment and depression in life.
It's not trying your best and doing your best that makes you sad if you don't succeed. It was knowing that you left something out there that you should have done. There was the effort that you could have put in. There was one more level that you could have taken it to and you quit before getting to that level. One more call you could have made. One more person you could have serviced. One more somebody you could have helped. That little bit of extra effort that you left behind. That's what leads to depression.
People in life look back and say, “I would have, I could have, I should have.” We have an opportunity to erase that terminology from your future and get after it now. Remind yourself of your why. You got to tie all of this. Tie excellence to your why and hold the vision for that. In those moments where you're slowing down, depressed or have doubt, you can remind yourself of the why. It's not even about a huge shift. It's about a small shift and taking one step towards getting back to that level of momentum and excellence.
You got to tell yourself, "I owe it to me to be me." That sounds a little bit like Terrell Owens when he said, "I love me some me." To be honest, there's something to that. I owe it to me to be me because we have a responsibility during our lifetimes to realize all of our God-given gifts and share them with the world. That means I owe it to me to be me. It's another way of saying, "I owe it to be me." If I am the best version of myself, the world will be rewarded. If you are the best version of yourself, the world will be rewarded.
A quick recap. Number one, attention to detail but more importantly, extract the details. Number two, be consistent and persistent. Make sure you're striving towards completion, but the journey is part of the excellence. Number three, always be on the road towards better. Remember FAIL is to Find All Important Lessons. Win or lose, always ask for feedback. Number four, self-respect and pride. Show up to be excellent. Number five, respect others. Respecting their time and intelligence. Number six, take ownership and responsibility. You can only control what you take responsibility for, good or bad.
Number seven, be accountable to yourself and others. We achieve this by training and habituation. Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong. Number eight, the time is now. Start your commitment to excellence now. Ask yourself every day, every hour, and every minute, “Is this the highest and best use of my time?” Number nine, be passionate about excellence. You guys are full moguls. I know the passion is there. Tap into it and be passionate about excellence. Number ten, if not excellence, then what? If we're not on full mogul journeys, what are we doing? If we're not chasing, unlocking, and unleashing the best versions of ourselves, what are we doing?
That brings us to the end of our episode. If you like this message, if it resonated with you or if it's going to move the needle in your business in any capacity, let me know. Like and share the show. DM me on social media and say, “I tuned into your show. It was amazing. I had this specific takeaway." Let's keep building. Let's keep growing. Let's keep going, full mogul.