Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. — Aristotle
Relationships are important to our human experience on earth. Good relationships can promote happiness, inclusion and belonging. Time passes easily with great relationships. Poor relationships, on the other hand, can be absolutely debilitating to our emotional and physical health. Ask someone about a crazy ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. How about a fantastic boss or that manager from hell. It’s amazing how relationships can be so complicated and encompassing. Family, friends, classmates, teammates, coworkers, and even social media “likes” belong to us as relationships. Some are positive, some are negative. Some are influential and some are detrimental. Can relationships be quantified? Measured? We can quickly size up the value of a relationship as to whether or not someone is worthy of our time, love or commitment.
Here is a super easy scorecard that can be applied to every relationship. It’s an easy “yes” or “no” answer to 5 questions that if answered honestly, will give you a positive (+) or negative (-) score of an individual’s relationship with YOU. Ask yourself these 5 questions and honestly score your results. Avoid anyone that doesn’t at least have a positive rating. Better yet, surround yourself with people who score +3 or better.
Relationship Scorecard (value). Place a (+) or (-) by each component variable.
How do you feel about a relationship with someone? Add these answers for a total between +5 and -5.
__ Respect? “admiration for someone’s abilities, qualities, or achievements”
__ Relevance? “being closely associated, connected or appropriate”
__ Reciprocity? “practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit”
__ Empathy? “understanding the feelings of another person”
__ Encouragement? “Giving or receiving support, confidence or hope”
Every time we make a conscious decision in the present moment we change the path of our life. Our actions either bring us closer to our desires or away from them. And if we have no ambition at all, and do absolutely nothing, we will experience physical, emotional and spiritual entropy.
Studies show that the exceptional few, the overachievers, execute their daily lives with focus and determination. Successful people are proactive and deliberate in the present moment making good choices that take them to their goals incrementally.
When we make poor decisions, we have to correct mistakes and get back to the path towards success. String enough good choices together and it gets easier to continue along the desired path. This is the flywheel effect that comes from good, incremental decision making.
Keep reminding yourself that making good choices, however small and seemingly insignificant, will create confidence to continue approaching your goals.
LIFE is a continuous stream of choices that define what we become.
Marietta, GA – Meeting Julius “Dr. J” Erving (February 5, 1980)
My dad came home one winter night when I was a junior in high school and said that he wanted to take me and my best friend, Tim Foster, to Indianapolis to see Julius “Dr. J” Erving play against his old nemesis, George McGinnis of the Pacers in a classic match-up of 2 former ABA teams. It was snowing that weeknight and the crowd was sparse. There were maybe 5,000 fans because of the snowstorm. On the court, Dr. J did not disappoint in the overtime win, although it was almost the end of his wonderful career. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3_1hZDi-qw
After the game, my dad took us boys down to the arena floor where Julius and teammate Bobby Jones had assembled the young fans. They spoke to us for over 30 minutes about making life goals, getting an education, and doing the right things to be successful in life. They also shared their testimony how Jesus Christ had changed their lives and made them whole beyond the basketball floor. Julius opened up his gym bag and gave away his sweat bands, shoe laces, and practice shirts. He was a real class act. Tim and I were in awe to meet not only a NBA legend and All Star but the same man whose poster we both had on our bedroom walls. Tim played basketball at Lockland High and I played at Landmark Christian in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Just when we thought the night couldn’t get any better, it did. Julius and Bobby were staying overnight with the team in a hotel next to the arena and they invited Tim and me to join them in the lobby to talk some more. My dad, Tim and I walked through the falling snow over to the hotel and sat with two NBA All Stars. We talked about life for another 30 minutes until Julius excused himself to get some dinner before turning in for the night, as the team would be leaving the next morning. Bobby Jones and Julius were such professionals and both treated Tim and me with such respect, compassion and warmth.
When I speak and write about someone who Encourages Excellence, Julius Erving is one of those professionals who talks the talk and walks the walk. He has had trials and personal tragedies. But I believe his faith and inner strength has lifted him up to be someone we can be proud of. My life was impacted by his encouragement and I will never forget it. Thanks, Doc.