Are you surrounded by Excellence, or comfortable in Mediocrity?

LEIGH CHMILAR excellenceEvery once in awhile I notice myself getting caught up in the day-to-day routine of “life”, with my tunnel vision on. I suddenly realize that it’s been weeks (or even months – GASP!), that I’ve been going about my life in such a way that makes me feel completely mediocre. I’m not saying I’m not an average person – because really, I am totally average. I work, hang out with friends and family, enjoy time to myself, etc. But acting “mediocre” is not what I want to do. I want to become a better person: give more, love more, help people, and have a stronger connection with the world around me – every day.

I was thinking about this, and was reminded of what a great coach of mine said recently, and it has stuck with me. She said: “If you want to become better (at anything), you need to surround yourself with people that don’t celebrate celebrate mediocrity”. In context, we were talking about fitness and athleticism. I competed in my first ever athletic competition a few months back, and it was the most incredible (and mentally difficult) experience. At the time, I was a mental disaster. I finished 14 out of 17 competitors, and felt horrible about myself. My EGO hated every minute of not being the best. It kept telling me that I’m not good enough to compete with these girls, that I should quit, what was I thinking? It was the most uncomfortable experience – because of how hard I was on myself and how my body reacted to the stress – I was literally shaking uncontrollably through some of the workouts. However, after the competition was over I reflected on those thoughts and feelings that I had. There was no reason to have any expectations of the outcome, and there was no reason to be upset about my performance. And finishing nearly dead last didn’t mean anything bad about me. It only meant that right now in my training I am not where these girls are at. And that’s ok.

you need to surround yourself with people that aren’t going to celebrate mediocrity

That simple realization completely inspired me to turn up the heat. It changed the way I looked at myself and competition. These women didn’t just show up untrained and dominate the way they did that weekend. They worked hard, and they’ve been consistently working hard for years. It got me excited to see a new potential – that I too could someday be where they are. I was surrounded by a level of excellence that I had never seen before. It was incredibly uncomfortable at first, but I will never grow by being stuck in comfort.

The bootcamp found people of all fitness levels and backgrounds challenging and encouraging each other

The bootcamp found people of all fitness levels and backgrounds challenging and encouraging each other

Surrounding yourself with excellence is incredibly powerful in life, not just fitness. I started to think about where else my world could be opened up. How do I want to live extraordinarily, and how do I want to show up in my life? It may not be easy – but easy is mediocre.


I want to surround myself with people who are living their passions, running their businesses with integrity and transparency, giving back to the world or their community, and interacting with others lovingly. For me it means being among people who live by their word – when they talk the talk, their actions follow. It means being among people who want to learn more, and are always striving and pushing their boundaries. It means being around people who don’t let excuses dictate their lives.

It means being among people who, use their words powerfully and with meaning (without gossip or negativity), who are honest and open about their thoughts and feelings (vulnerable), and show integrity (actions speak louder than words). For me, this is what it means to live a life of excellence.

How is it that you want to show up in your life, and the lives of those around you?

First ask yourself how you want to be. Do you want to take the easy way out, live for only yourself and not contribute to the world around you? Or do you want to sometimes take the tough road so that you can do the right thing and stand up for something you believe in? Do you want people to trust you, know that they can depend on you, and respect you? If so, ask yourself:

Am I surrounding myself with people who:

1. Call me out on my bullshit (for lack of a better term)? Do they call it out, and am I open to their feedback?

2. Demand nothing less than excellence from me? This means they know I am capable of so much more, and will not coddle me or pretend it’s okay when I am less than.

3. Hold me accountable and to a high level of integrity? When I don’t follow through on things I say I will do/be, do I get away with it?

4. Are inspiring me to live a life in a way that I am proud of? Am I part of a supportive, positive, encouraging and loving community of people?

For every person, “Excellence” will mean something different. I’m not to say how you should live, and what values you should have. Only you can decide what it means to be exceptional, and whether you want to lead by example in some way.

Take this opportunity to reflect on who in your life is extraordinary. Who is inspiring you to be excellent, and how? Please share in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments 🙂

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