Even though he meant it as a compliment, I cringed a little the first time he said it to me.
Lisa, the first time I met you I was triggered. Because I could feel that in order to be your friend I was going to have to rise up to a whole other standard of excellence in how I conduct myself and show up for you.
Yikes. What did that mean? That I come across like some demanding B?
He clarified that no, it did not mean that. And that he was so glad he chose to stay my friend because it had made him a better man.
Huh. Interesting, I thought. Feeling better, but still wondering if that was a bad thing that my energy created that reaction in him when he met me.
Over the years, I have stood in rooms for intimate gatherings full of 7 figure entrepreneurs, major thought leaders, and people who are creating big change in the world.
Story after story always gets shared by them about team members who tried to sabotage their businesses and bring it down. Friends getting jealous and saying hurtful things, ending their relationships. Vendors or contractors getting angry at them for expecting things to be of the highest quality.
I was amazed. Because I had had these very same experiences too. So have a lot of my clients, who are themselves powerful women leaders leaving legacies with their work.
My mind drifted back to a video I saw of the Olympic runner Derek Redmond. I bawled like a baby watching that video.
Halfway through the most important race of his life, after grueling training for his entire life, his hamstring snaps as he’s running. It’s clear he has no chance of winning now, but he still gets up and continues to hobble his way towards the finish line, determined to finish the race he started.
Or the story of the first woman runner of the Boston Marathon, Kathy Switzer. Even though she was attacked by a man, she continued the race to the very end.
That is excellence.
Here’s the truth. Those of us who feel called to make big impact in the world, and not just impact but legacies… we have different standards of excellence.
We push ourselves harder than most people do. We go the extra mile to make sure that the product, program or offering we put out there is the BEST we can do. We strive to give our 110%.
We sacrifice things in pursuit of this strong calling in our hearts. We have sacrificed relationships, sleep, sometimes health (hopefully not for long because you NEED your health to carry your mission forward), comfort and more, because there is a drive in us that is larger than our own egos. We are willing to do what most people will not. Willing to overcome the biggest fears. Willing to let go of comfort. People. If we have to.
When I started my business, I sent an email out to all of my friends letting them know I was not going to be as available for late night parties and bar hangouts because I was going to go all in on making my business successful right from the get go. I lost most of my friends. Too bad, but I had bigger things to aspire to.
An uncle called me and told me to relax because it would take me at least 2 years to make any money on my business. Something in me said, nope I’m going to make money NOW. I made almost six figures in my first year.
But I busted my ass.
So has every person out there that is doing incredible work and making a big impact.
We have trained like Olympic athletes to be ABLE to deliver world-class experiences to people that will change their frickin lives. Because we aren’t here to do the bare minimum or to deliver average niceties that don’t actually create deep change for people.
We are here to break paradigms, liberate people and change the world for the better.
That is NOT easy, chill work with no challenges.
That is the hardest and most fulfilling thing you can choose to do. And if you’re a legacy maker, even if it intimidates you a little, you are not going to let a little fear stop you.
And in a world full of mediocrity, half-assed effort, and deceptive facades, true legacies are built only through full dedication to excellence. Period.
Legacy makers push themselves constantly. They are always pushing the edge.
They are willing to be uncomfortable AF while they dredge up old childhood wounds and dynamics that might be preventing them from showing up as powerfully as they can.
They invest A LOT of money and take BIG RISKS just for the sake of helping others by driving their mission forward.
If they find a blockage in them that slows down their impact, they don’t sit around for months, reading free e-books online waiting until they are “ready” to do something about it.
Nope, they’re decisive.
They hire the person to handle that shit STAT. They take care of it. They invest what they need to invest to make it happen. If they don’t have the money, they figure out how they will have the money. There are no excuses.
That face of the person they serve will keep them going throughout the most stressful, sleepless nights in the middle of a launch where everything is going wrong.
As a coach who support legacy makers, I hear powerful men and women doubting their own standards of excellence all the time. People on their teams will quit. Not everyone will like being asked to serve at that level of excellence. In fact, some people will get pissed at them for expecting that.
I always tell them — there is nothing wrong with you. Being asked to rise to the highest level of your excellence can be triggering when you just want to coast by at the minimum. So accept that you will trigger people. Constantly.
I have had team members quit on me in the middle of launches because they only cared about collecting a paycheck vs. changing the world with excellence. I’ve had friends say mean things to me that hurt deeply because they didn’t understand that my mission to change the world was more important than going out and getting drunk every Friday.
I’ve had people die on me, and yet I still showed up to my commitment after I took the time to take a breath. Been evacuated from my home five times and still taught that mastermind class. Had a shitty assistant at my retreat and still pulled off the most powerful retreat ever. Had to pay $200 for internet to teach that class I promised I’d teach from the mountains of Switzerland during a power outage.
Because I committed to show the F up with my fullest excellence.
And I, like all legacy makers, care too much about the people I’m here to help to give them something half-ass. I say this not to brag, but to help you feel more normal. There is nothing wrong with you. This is your gift.
Can you imagine where we’d be if Galileo had not risked death sharing his theories about the planets? If Gandhi had shut up at the first sign of resistance? If MLK had given up when his life was threatened?
Fact is, most people around you are not going to have the same level of excellence that you hold yourself and your work to. They have a different calling.
Stop making yourself wrong for it.
There is nothing wrong with you.
That is exactly the standard of excellence that is needed to change this world.
You are not crazy.
You are the Olympic athlete of your field.
You are here to show people the full potential of the human spirit by rising continuously to meet the challenges, overcome them, and model that for others.
The world needs people with your standard of excellence, so they can see the full power of their own potential. No man would have stepped on the moon if it weren’t for excellence.
There is a trend lately of shaming legacy makers who have a mission to go BIG. Who are committed body and soul to their mission. Who are here to make millions, impact multi-millions and change the face of their industries. Don’t listen to that, brilliant one.
Listen only to the voice of your soul that pushes you towards that deep desire to serve.
No, I am not saying exhaust yourself, burn yourself out and be a demanding a-hole that burns their team out.
As a legacy maker, you’ve done enough work on yourself to know when you’re being an a-hole. I don’t need to teach you about that. You know how to fix that if it’s happening. Take care of that ish if you’re doing that. Because that is not excellence.
But understand, people dropping off as you rise to meet the excellence you are here to give to the world, is normal. And you WILL find the people who will love your standard of excellence and who want to rise with you.
My team right now — everyone LOVES being pushed by me and they push ME too and want to rise to the challenge. Anyone who whines about our standards leaves immediately or we let them go.
My friends — are all legacy makers who push each other to keep rising above the fray.
My clients — no one has excuses about not being able to make a payment or why they didn’t do the work they were assigned at the end of our session. They take the work I gave them and triple the results. They are committed to excellence.
That Olympian who snapped his hamstring? He couldn’t’ have made it across that finish line if it weren’t for his father, who jumped over the audience seats and helped him hobble to the end.
The first female runner at the Boston marathon? Couldn’t have made it without the men who protected her from her attacker and made sure she was safe for the rest of the run.
Being supported by people who believe in our standards of excellence is what gets us across the finish line.
That is who you should surround yourself with.
Do not waste time with the naysayers. Do not doubt yourself. Do not.
Reserve your energy only for those who believe in excellence.
What you are doing is too important.
Excellence is your resilience. Your secret sauce to leave your legacy.
It takes excellence to make millions. To change the lives of millions.
To be one in a million.
And if this triggers you, ask yourself why.
There’s work for you to do if that is the case.
Time to get real with yourself about what it will take and if you’re really prepared to go the extra mile for what you love. Because changing the world is not just some fun or dreamy thing to say.
It’s a mission that requires ALL the extra miles you’ve got and more.
It will demand the best version of you.
You thought excellence was your curse but in reality, it’s your most important quality.
Now rise, legacy leader.