Everyone aims for excellence. Excellence is not always easy to identify. Everyone has their own criteria. Excellence for some is mundane to others. Once you have achieved excellence, how do you improve? Luckily I have found a way to identify excellence and move beyond.
Driving the other day, I heard a commercial touting a surgical procedure to correct the effects of erectile dysfunction. The celebrity narrator/endorser was none other than Peter Scolari.
Peter Scolari has a nice resume for an actor. He's had roles in three TV series, "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids", "Newhart" (3 Emmy nominations) and "Bosom Buddies". In addition he has numerous theater and movie credits and a bunch of guest roles on TV. Many would say his career has been excellent. Still, Peter Scolari may be best known not for his career, but for the costar on his first TV series.
"Bosom Buddies" premiered in 1980 and ran through 1982. The theme was written by Billy Joel. Many cast members are still working today. "Bosom Buddies" is not known for it's theme or even it's cast as a whole. "Bosom Buddies" is memorable because of one of the lead male actors. "Bosom Buddies" introduced us to Peter Scolari, but it also was the first (and only)TV series for Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks has a career that many dream of but few achieve. Multiple leading roles in many successful movies. Lead actor Oscars for his roles in "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump" along with three additional Academy Award nominations. Producer, director and a 20+ year marriage to actress Rita Wilson. His son Colin is also an actor. In short, Tom Hanks is well...Tom Hanks.
Going back to "Bosom Buddies", Peter Scolari has a nice resume. He's had a very credible career; a career that thousands of waiters from New York to Los Angeles would kill (or worse) for. Peter Scolari has a career many would deem excellent. There's nothing wrong with being Peter Scolari, but Tom Hanks is... Tom Hanks.
So when considering your next paper, project, relationship, apology or customer served and the required effort: Will the result be Peter Scolari? Credible, acceptable, even excellent. Or will it result in Tom Hanks? There is nothing wrong with being Peter Scolari, but Tom Hanks is...Tom Hanks.