Why Excellence over Success

Updated: Apr 6

From time to time I meet a person that wonders about our slogan "EXCELLENCE over SUCCESS". The deeper meaning of it has always intrigued me. Then I came across a transcript by author and speaker Jon Gordon which made it easier for me to respond in a meaningful way..... At USC Academy we can easily align with his view.

We have a choice as individuals, organizations and teams. We can focus on success and spend our life looking around to see how our competition is doing, or we can look straight ahead towards the vision of greatness we have for ourselves and our teams. We can look at competition as the standard or as an indicator of our progress towards our own standards. We can chase success or we can embark on a quest for excellence and focus 100% of our energy to become our best… and let success find us. Ironically, when our goal is Excellence, the outcome and by-product is often Success.

As with anything we do in life, success or excellence is a CHOICE. Do we select success because it is easier? Do we select success because it is transactional? Do we not aim for excellence as it is more systematic and less transactional?

We must determine what is transactional and what is systematic, as that is a major difference between the two.

Being successful does not necessarily mean you will be excellent. Being excellent does not necessarily mean you will be successful. Success is attaining or achieving cultural goals, which elevates one’s importance in the society in which he/she lives.

Excellence is the pursuit of quality in one’s work and effort, whether the culture recognizes it or not.

Success seeks the external, status, power, prestige, wealth, and privilege. Excellence is internal – seeking satisfaction in having done your best.

Success is external – how you have done in comparison to others.

Excellence is how you have done in relation to your own potential. Success grants its rewards to a few, but it is the dream of the multitudes. Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few. Success engenders a fantasy and a compulsive groping for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Excellence brings us down to reality with deep gratitude for the promise of joy when we do our best. Excellence cultivates principles, character, and integrity. Success may be cheap, and you can take shortcuts to get there. Excellence will always cost you everything, but it is the most lasting and rewarding ideal.

Often when we speak of doing well in life we speak of how “successful” we are or how “successful” someone has been. It is rare that we describe ourselves or someone else as being a person of “excellence.” Success is something we readily accept whereas Excellence is something we rarely strive to achieve. One could differentiate between “success versus excellence” as:

“To succeed is to attain a desired object or desired result. It doesn’t necessarily mean doing one’s best. On the other hand, to excel means to continue to improve or develop. It includes a sense of rightness or goodness.”

So while success and excellence have their similarities, in fact, the two are different. Aristotle was quoted as saying:

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

At USCA we have chosen the 'Excellence' way. We believe it is the right approach in our organization and we expect players and parents to understand, respect and cherish that way of development. It is a choice the player and parent must make when joining USCA. Therefore, a USC Academy player must be highly motivated and work hard to develop technical, tactical, physical and mental skills.