One of the lessons I have been appreciating recently is the power of being organised.

Excellence to a large extend is premised on being organised.

When I was doing accounting articles, one of the things you are taught is to organise an audit file, with all the audit evidence, references and cross-references in a methodical and sequential manner.

Anyone who goes through your audit file, even though they were not part of that audit, should be able to understand your evidence from the first audit procedure executed right through to the audit report.

Your audit file was your work of art.

Like an artist who showcases his masterpieces at the gallery, your audit file was your masterpiece to your superiors and clients.

You might remember when you were a high school student [as I do] trying to work out a revision system that helped you to maximise your chances of academic success.

Teachers held up model students as examples of how ‘hard work’ paid off.

Straight-A students it seemed were the ones who did ‘the most’ work. And ‘most’, being infinite was a daunting place to start.

But ‘the most’ work turns out meant start early, put in the hours every day, be consistent, and come exam time, you will be better organised.

The motto was, if you want to be exceptional in anything you have to start early and put in the hours.

That was the motto back then in high school, and it turns out, it is the motto in life long after high school.

Exceptional performance is not a result of expending the most effort at the last minute, trying to reach the summit in a single, spectacular leap.

The secret to being exceptional is in the small choices we make moment-to-moment.

The student who organises his notes from the very first lecture of the first semester.

The hotel receptionist who consciously makes every interaction meaningful.

The athlete who pushes through the last three uncomfortable reps.

The CEO who intentionally seeks out and acts on the wisdom of his team.

The doctor who greets her patients warmly by shaking them by the hand.

Ordinary people making small choices that incrementally make them exceptional.

Small, deliberate choices, made moment-to-moment, have a huge impact over time, not just on the work we do and the people we serve, but on our belief about what is possible.

It is easy to fall into the trap of complaining about the things beyond our control we can’t change.

If we want to be exceptional, we need to get into the habit of finding reasons why we must, instead of making excuses why we can’t.

But most importantly, it always help to be organised early on.

As Vandini Setia said before:

“Being organised is keeping your mess in order and being messy is keeping your order in a mess.”

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