A Conspiracy of Excellence

Last week was one of those weeks that seemed to have a theme, one wove through a couple of conversations and one Instagram video, like so:

Natalia Alvarez, an expert in storytelling to express brand (an anemic description of the magic she weaves) with her company The Story That Matters, was kind enough to let me interview her about her gremlin voices. She said:

“I think we are entitled to our labor but not to the results or the fruits of our labor. And the detachment is important at some point because if you’re thinking about being a best seller, maybe you’re not going to write what you really want to write.”

Kenny Clutch aka Kenny Thomas, dancer, teacher, and advocate for kids who, like his youngest, are dealing with significant illness said during a radio interview excerpted on his IG feed:

“I play to win. The system teaches you not to lose – playing it safe.”

And then there was Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock who has already featured on my blog a couple of times because of how often he says things that really hit me deep and hard – Bryan is an “soul hop” artist, performer, DJ, and creator of Soul Sessions – said:

“I’ve dared to suck a lot.”

The thread that wove through those three thoughts offers a theme of excellence, perhaps even a recipe for it:

  • Set goals to set your direction but then intentionally un-attach from them so that you can focus on maximizing each step – that is, making each step with courage and presence and by feeling into the power of the now rather than the imagined possibility of the future.
  • Play to win, whatever that means to you. Play toward your greatness not your getting-by-ness. Don’t hedge your greatness by focusing on not losing.

  • Dare to suck. Dare to stretch so far, to be so bold, to experiment so wildly that you might just fall flat on your face. And if you do? It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll learn something amazing on the journey to your nose hitting the pavement.

The opposite path is one of mediocrity. And I don’t mean mediocrity as compared to other people – I mean a mediocre version of yourself, a half-hearted version of yourself. I mean, giving only some of what you have to give in this lifetime.

Making every step a move toward your biggest and baddest is not for the faint of heart.

Good thing you’re so damn courageous.