The Statue of Liberty stands gracefully on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The robed woman represents Libertas, a Roman goddess. She holds a torch above her head, and in her left arm carries a tablet inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States. She has welcomed immigrants arriving from abroad and tourist wanting to see this grand statute.
The height of the statue from feet to torch is 151 feet and from ground level to torch it stands 305 feet (the length of a football field.) Most people view the statue by looking up from a ship, a ferry, or by standing below it. When it was designed and installed no one would have dreamed that one-day people would view it from airplanes and helicopters looking down on it. That day came and interestingly enough they saw the grand detail of the Lady Liberty’s crown and hair.
The Bartholdi and Eiffel placed as much emphasis on a part of the statue that when created would never been seen. It shows their commitment to excellence.
Jesus was committed to excellence. The Gospel writer Mark summarized Jesus’ life: “People were overwhelmed with amazement, ‘He (Jesus) has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak’” (Mark 7:37 NIV). God gave his very best—his Son. And his Son gave his very best—his life.
Giving your best is a good definition of excellence. Excellence is not success, being the best. Excellence is not perfectionism, doing everything perfectly. Excellence is giving your best.
Here are five ways to giving your best.
Discover your niche.
For Bartholdi it was sculpting. For Eiffel it was building. Find what you do well then do it.
Give attention to detail.
The difference between something good and something great is the attention to detail. Again, just look at the details of the Statue of Liberty.
Take the time to do it right.
People will never know how long it takes one to do something; they will only know how well it is done.
Give the needed effort.
Long ago an ancient Greek wrote, “The gates of excellence are always surrounded by a sea of sweat.” Excellence requires work. Anyone doing something effortlessly has spent hours, practice, and diligent effort to master their skill. There are no shortcuts to excellence.
As coaches told me, “Keep your head in the game.” Mental focus is required in the pursuit of excellence.
In conclusion, let me remind you of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.”
Whatever your role, position, or lot in life, always give your best.