Warriors Know...Excellence is Ultimate, Always.

You want to know what you become when you are excellent in one area of your life but sloppy in the rest or sloppy in one area but excellent in the rest? You become sloppy. Excellence and sloppiness do not live harmoniously. Sloppiness wins out and dreams are smothered. That may be a pretty high standard to live up to every day but the alternative is worse. Excellence resides above regret and that is the home you want to build.

Warrior and I never told the girls their dreams had to be linked to academics but we did require they maintain their academic excellence. Warrior believed greatly in educating oneself but not necessarily higher education. As a woman raising girls I disagreed but we each made our views known to our daughters. Warrior felt unless you wanted to be in the sciences or other fields where a degree was necessary higher education was not necessary. He felt if the girls wanted to pursue a passion in the arts they should do so, at the youngest ages, immediately after high school. I felt and feel that as a woman in the world the degree I earned is something that is mine forever. No matter what may happen in life my degree is something that will never be taken from me. We respected the other's viewpoint since we both earned degrees and agreed at the proper juncture Indy and Mattie would decide for themselves. No matter their future goal we agreed the girls' training ground for excellence was the work they did in school and the dedication they showed to their passions outside of school hours. Indy dances six, sometimes seven days a week in a class setting and private coaching. Her summers are consumed with dance eight hours a day, six days a week. Mattie comes to the gym with me four nights a week to train like a diva for the day she follows her daddy's running footsteps. She takes martial arts and loves theater, plays (she is currently cast as Simba) and making short films. Mattie is an incredible artist just like her dad. Still, their academics have never suffered. They've entered science fairs, spelling bees, art competitions with varying degrees of success and learned valuable lessons of preparation, diligence, and the value of a job done well. It never mattered to us that they win or take top prize. It did, however, matter that they applied excellence to the task at hand.

We must do this in our daily lives too. It is easy to get humdrum and start idling at merely good. Good is not where Warriors rest. Good is simply not good enough.

One thing about excellence is it is entirely individual. We must not mark our excellence in comparison to another's. I am constantly reminding the girls of this. Run your own race, Warriors...the guy in the next lane is none of your business. We get sloppy when we start glancing sideways. We lose focus on the goal ahead which was always a matter of us against ourselves anyway. Healthy competition is good, it is inspiring, but it is only productive if we can salute the competition as we fly on by!!

In whatever area of your life you are not currently practicing excellence this week put it on the top of your list! So many moms out there have left themselves off the "to do list" entirely, they've forgotten they were independent women once upon a time. If you are that woman or the man next to her be reminded of the importance of the pursuit of excellence. I tell myself what I often told the girls when they were small. You cannot always be at the front of the line but it does come YOUR turn and when that time comes, STAND YOUR GROUND! My front of the line is exercise. Without the gym through all this mess I think I would have gone mad! Two of my dear friends insisted I come back if only to walk on the treadmill and that's where it began. My friends at Santa Fe Spa have been protectors and encouragers at every phase. The gym is my "Cheers", my touchstone, my safety net, my soft place to be kick ass. I'm middle aged so I don't want any excuses--if I can keep the excellence going I'm expecting the same of you! Don't throw in the towel on how you maintain your appearance. It may just be a shell but it is the shell you live in...keep it shiny...paint the barn!!!

If we have dreams of excellence for our children we must have them for ourselves? It is too much to saddle your kids with all the dreams you aren't going to pursue for yourself. What do you want to strive to be excellent at and what do you need to clean up in your life? Write them both on a sticky note this week and figure a way to make progress toward feeling the power of your own greatness in attaining what you want and cleaning up the other.

I believe the enemy of excellence is good enough. I believe we slide into sloppy and wonder how the hell to climb back out. I believe for warriors, there is but one standard...and that is ULTIMATE...Always! xo💝Dana

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