Success and excellence often stand on opposite sides of the same street. This would have been a true statement were it not for the fact that the only people who subscribe to this notion are the ones who achieve neither success nor excellence.

It’s possible to find a street where success and excellence live side-by-side, like two loving, respectful neighbors. And we are going to tell you how to get there.

Know what you are aiming for

How can you hit a target if you don’t know what your target is?

You can’t.

If you ever had a talent or hobby and felt on top of the world, and then lost interest because you lost your goal, then you’ve got to fix that first. It is extremely hard to focus on something when we don’t want it as badly as we used to before.

A lot of us have the tendency to start focusing on other things that are not as important and will never bring us the same joy as our original goal. Or you may keep your goal posts shifting and, in the process, you may lose track of your actual target.

Set your goals

Nobody can hit a moving target. How can you when you don’t even know what the target is?

You’ve got to shift your focus back to what matters to you the most and aim for it. If you have never set a goal for success, focus on what you are doing and what your goal will be so that it becomes a part of who you are.

Once you have set yourself a goal and defined it, only then can you propel yourself towards the goal. If focusing back on your goal seems difficult, then focus on the small steps that you can take towards achieving your goal, even if it is just one percent each day.

Let excellence be the skill that sets you apart from all other people in this world because you believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish it.

As you get close to your goal, you will have built enough enthusiasm for excellence and momentum for success.

Break out of your mold

The road to achieving excellence is not a linear path with clear steps and checkpoints. You’ve got to break out of your mold and give yourself a 180-degree make-over. Simply marching out of your comfort zone is not enough; you’ve got to pull down the barriers and storm out of it.

Daring to step into unfamiliar territories would only serve to expand your horizons and, in turn, make you fall in love with all that life has to offer, alongside achieving your goals.

Plenty of people are trying to break out of the mold and do something different, but it is often difficult because we have a hard time defining where the boundaries should be. Although we may not be able to define the boundaries, we can make a conscious choice to break out of the mold.

Breaking out of the mold opens us up to new worlds of possibilities that may not have been previously seen. It is not always comfortable, but being able to do so can feel liberating.

Dump mediocrity. For good

Mediocrity on either side of the scale is no longer okay. Today, people are becoming more particular about their standards in every part of life and do not or will not tolerate it.

And neither should you.

Unless you dump mediocrity, you can never achieve excellence because you cannot differentiate yourself from others who are seen as less. You must be willing to make the “hard” decision to hold yourself accountable and give up any sort of relaxation — essentially, keeping your standards high so that you can be successful with what you’re working towards achieving.

Mediocrity can lead to dissatisfaction and create an inferiority complex and low self-esteem. Doing anything less than your best often leaves you with mixed feelings that prevent peace in your life.

This is something worth digging into because, if you think about it, we face this almost every day. No matter how much skill you learn and how much experience you can accumulate over time, it will never truly be enough unless you reach the level of those more experienced.

Which is why you should always seek excellence when you find yourself in your mediocrity zone. Because nothing is more self-limiting and damaging than mediocrity. Don’t set a ceiling on what you can achieve, but imagine the sky. The sky is limitless, and so are the possibilities.

You are on your own. And that’s okay

Being an independent entrepreneur is frequently seen as a risk. But it is also an opportunity to create your own path and choose your own opportunities.

Many people shy away from the idea of being an independent entrepreneur because they feel like they won’t be able to achieve success on their own. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are many ways that being independent can help you achieve success in business. These include taking advantage of the freedom to work on multiple projects, working with companies that are more focused on innovation, and having more time for yourself and your family.

Being independent is the key to success in business. It allows you to focus on your work and not be distracted by other things.

Surrendering is not an option

Successful “people god” entrepreneurs, as they are often called, never let their failures define them or shut them down emotionally. Does that mean they are immune to disappointment? No. Does that mean they can’t feel sorrow or pain? Also, no.

It’s easy to let setbacks and failures undermine your progress, but if you are always looking for what went wrong in the past and how to fix it, you’ll find yourself stuck. That’s why your commitment to excellence should have a vested interest in not just accepting failure, but also learning from it. Without this second stage, failure would end up being a paralyzing fear and threaten everything you have built so far.

Real commitment to excellence also involves not letting failures and setbacks get in the way of your life. Excellent entrepreneurs push through them.

Pursuit of excellence is not a one-and-done deal

Attaining excellence in whatever you do in life is not optional, but a given. It requires continuous effort and hard work. It is not just about the quality of work, but also how much time you spend on it. Always striving towards reaching that level of excellence sets an example for those around you with your good work.

The only difference between a good entrepreneur and an average one is that the good ones are always striving to always achieve excellence. They never settle for less than the best, they take risks, and they are constantly learning and improving themselves.

Keep up with the industry trends

So, you have finally managed to achieve excellence. That’s great for now, but what about tomorrow?

Remember Nokia? No? We don’t blame you if you don’t. Nokia had once attained a phenomenal level of excellence in the mobile phone industry, but then they bet on the wrong horse (Symbian) and saw Android beat them to the finish line… by miles. They ignored the tides that were turning towards Android and, ultimately, to an abrupt and untimely demise. You certainly don’t want to be caught napping and miss out on changes in the industry that can potentially take your business to the next level.

Read. Listen to podcasts. Subscribe to business journals. Hire analytical and marketing agencies to monitor your social media for you. Keep yourself abreast of the developments in the world.

It’s only this way that you can make changes to your products or services to keep up with the changes that happen in their industry. This way, you can make sure you are still creating excellent products or offering excellent services, only because you have identified the disruptive trends and kept up with them.

Cut yourself some slack

Striving for perfection doesn’t mean not allowing yourself (and others) to commit the occasional mistake. This is where many entrepreneurs miss a trick or two. Perfection and excellence are not about never committing mistakes; it’s about never settling for less.

For instance, if you’re an e-commerce business and have been working on updating your website, but it’s not quite up to scratch yet, you should always go the extra mile and make sure that everything is flawless. That’s aiming for excellence. But if you start berating yourself or those who are working on it, you are not going to do anybody any favors. And finally, remember that —

Committing to excellence is a conscious effort

There must be a conscious effort on your part to be excellent in life. There is no way to get around the hard work necessary to achieve excellence. The effort you put in will determine how fast you reach your goal. The fastest path to success is being excellent at what you do.

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