It all begins with awareness. What I'm aware of, I have the ability to do something about. If I lack skills, awareness gives me the necessary impetus to gain the skill. If I have the skill, awareness helps me use it. If I'm using it, awareness makes it possible to become better. If I'm becoming better everyday, then I increase the chances of attaining some semblance of excellence.
So it all begins with AWARENESS! How does one become aware might be question!
Probably the simplest way to be aware is through feedback from others. Regardless of the feedback, or my opinion of it or the person giving it, or "how" it "why" it's given, it's useful for me to welcome it.
Feedback is to be received as though it is a most precious gift. Why? Feedback gives me invaluable information that I might not have been aware of otherwise. And once I'm aware I can do something about it.
One cannot see the back of their own head the way someone else can. So, feedback is very important. Gravity gave us all feedback instantaneously as we lost balance and helped us learn to stay upright and balanced. Similarly, feedback helps us learn mental and emotional balance and uprightness. Be grateful for any and all feedback.
And how does one use the feedback and awareness?
Set some time aside, preferably the same time every day, for introspection on feedback. This is the most important use of your time. You are the greatest beneficiary of this exercise.
Choose feedback that you're planning to introspect upon. Become aware of the reactions or responses to the feedback. If there's anger, irritation or righteousness, start by taking a few deep breaths (abdominal breathing, extending the exhalation) as you experience those emotions.
Become aware of the excuses or justification or reasons that you think of, including dismissing both the feedback and the giver or their motives.
Counterintuitively, start considering all ways and reasons you could agree with the feedback. A little like debating for a topic that you don't agree with personally. This helps you gain multiple other perspectives not considered.
Why would I want to do that might be the question, and that's simply because it's very useful for you. Why? How?
Evaluating multiple other perspectives gives more depth to your understanding of yourself and your behaviour. To understand WHY you behave in the manner that you do might help further. Asking yourself WHY in a cycle, up to 7 times, will help you get to the real reason for your behaviour. Most find the real reason at the 3rd or 4th WHY.
Once the real reason is identified, evaluate if the WHY behind your behaviour is reasonable, justified and fair. If it's not, alter your expectations. If you still think it is, request feedback from others to clarify that it truly is.
Identify what you can do to achieve what you want without being considered what the feedback giver thinks. Be aware of the urge to once again dismiss feedback and the giver at this time. You could also check with others on potential courses of action you could follow. Be aware Do something useful everyday in this area. Learn. Grow. Excel.
PS. All this might seem like "a lot of work", too much thinking to do, and so on. However it'll all be worth it. The result will be you, who's purposeful and excelling consistently.