The Key of Excellence


“I know what poverty feels like, and now I know what excellence feels like. I choose excellence.”

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By: Jessica Manuel

Excellence is not something you turn on and off. It can be defined by a quality or feature of someone who is outstanding, and has a consistency of character in their personal and professional life, a great work-ethic, mindset and attitude that spills over into one’s actions.

So excellence in the workplace starts with the right attitude; is going to work a task for you? Do you have a job that doesn’t feel like “work”?. Execution is easy when time is of no obstacle and you’re passionate about what you do. In other words, if you’re passionate about what you do you’ll be passionate about how you do it.

In your personal life it is important to feel good about yourself, so what better way to reap the benefits of productivity. When your home and personal life is in order everything else seems to come together easier; even your interactions with family and friends are more enjoyable! You begin to look at things as an opportunity instead of a task, thus striving to achieve even greater personal excellence.

Once you understand that exceeding your own personal standards brings joy to you, excellence will become non-negotiable for you. It is an energy, an expectation, a quality that drives you to beat your current definition of impossible; this helps break chains (hyperlinks are to previous written articles) of doubt, fear, complacency and procrastination which will subsequently lead to contentment.

People confuse complacency with contentment all the time, they let go of striving for excellence and lower their expectations of themselves. This could be a result of low self-esteem, a broken past, an inability to commit or just plain laziness.

The problem with this is that our society is inundated with less work-ethic and replaced with a sense of entitlement. Longterm, this will lead to a weaker economy because we all start bearing the weight of societal hinderance. The ones that are ‘excellent’ at working or being innovative, end up carrying chains of others (debt, taxes or a broken back). So along with carrying our own financial burdens, we end up trying to help keep the economy alive and afloat.

I understand and relate to the ones that need help and a hand up. I can not relate to the people that take hand-outs. My broken past is one full of poverty, homelessness and helplessness so I definitely see how one can fall into the mentality of complacency. It’s simply easier that way. I now spend my life giving back to the community that once helped me. I did not allow my circumstances to hinder my future contributions to society.


For as much as I acquired through social assistance, food banks, homeless shelters or counselling services as a teenager, I decided to start sharing my story as a motivational speaker to contribute to raising millions of dollars to support the same agencies that gave me a second chance.

I always welcome the opportunity to share what it means to come from poverty to possibility and strive for excellence in everything I do. I don’t want to go back to poverty, I’ve come too far for that. There are so many people that need my help, to know that it’s possible.

I am now a role model and have high expectations for myself so I break chains off others.

Excellence is contagious, it is a light in someones darkness, hope in someone’s circumstances. Excellence above all else is a choice. Through habitually striving for better, and understanding that it’s not easy, you will burn your own drive for excellence. If you need motivation, give up everything and live on the street for a few days so you know what the alternative is. It can happen to any of us; but outstanding qualities is something to earned, valued and never taken for granted.

Make excellence non-negotiable.