This post focuses on how to work toward excellence in your work and life by developing the value of HUNGER, which is about your desire, passion, drive, initiative, and how proactive and self-motivated you are.

 To develop the Value of HUNGER:

1.  Practice being proactive.  Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life.  It means taking action, showing initiative, making things happen, not blaming others, and not making excuses.  It is about doing the things that need to be done before someone asks you to do them.  Stephen Covey said, “Your life doesn’t just ‘happen’.  It is carefully designed by you – or carlessly designed by you.”  How can you become more proactive in your life?  Here are some ideas.

  • Start projects early.  The opposite of proactive is reactive.  Successful people do not react to things, they are proactive in order to ensure things happen the way they envision.  Starting a project early will put you in a position to succeed later.  Being proactive eliminates procrastination forever.
  • Communicate first.  When building relationships, successful people make the first call, send the first email, and generally take the lead.  They do not wait for people to contact them.  They get the ball rolling, create a sense of urgency, and follow through.
  • Go beyond what is expected.   Good performers do what is expected, but no more.  Excellent performers go beyond the minimum, take great care in the details, and take pride in the professional work they produce.  They set their own bar for the quality work they do and are not satisfied with good enough.

2.  Practice motivating yourself. Self-motivation, or intrinsic motivation comes from within you and is a key to achieving excellence.  Those that achieve excellence don’t depend on others to motivate them.  They motivate themselves.  They set their own bar.  They focus on the things they can control, not on what is outside their control.  In short, they choose to be hungry.  How do you motivate yourself?  Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Write down your goals, a game plan for achieving them, and a deadline for their completion.  Work toward achieving your goals a little bit every day, and no matter what adversity comes your way, don’t give up.  Create some momentum – and some hunger.
  • Make each day a masterpiece.  This quote by John Wooden is all about your determination to make each day count.  Value and protect your time and use each day as a stepping stone to achieving your dreams.  Don’t settle for less and don’t accept mediocrity from yourself or others.
  • Become a lifelong learner of leadership.  Read books, attend conferences, and listen to audio CDs by successful people.  Watch TED videos, subscribe to SUCCESS Magazine, and write articles or blogs about things that bother you.  Light a fire within yourself to make a positive difference and meaningful contribution to the world.

   3.  Practice beginning with the end in mind.  “Beginning with the end in mind” is Stephen Covey’s 2nd habit of highly effective people in his acclaimed book of the same title.  To begin with the end in mind effectively, one must be proactive in establishing a game plan and work backwards, visualizing the end result and working toward excellence every single day.  People who exhibit hunger have a vision and know exactly what it takes to accomplish it.  They can see the end in front of them and are confident that achieving their vision is only a matter of time.  How do you practice beginning with the end in mind?

  • Ask yourself, “what does the end look like?”  Describe it in great detail.  In other words, decide what you want to achieve.  What is your vision?
  • Tell others about your vision.  To keep yourself working toward your vision, tell others about it.  Tell your family.  Tell your friends.  Think about getting and “accountability partner” to push, encourage, and support you on your journey.
  • Practice on smaller tasks first.  Many times before I even get to work, I feel like my day is completed.  I have already written down, thought about, and visualized ahead of time everything that is going to take place that day.  The rest is simply execution.