The Power of Excellence: Unlocking Financial Success through Personal and Professional Growth

In this week’s episode of Retire in Texas, Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group, explores the transformative power of excellence in achieving financial success. Through engaging stories and practical insights, Darryl emphasizes the importance of pursuing excellence in all aspects of life, whether in your career, business, or personal endeavors.

Today’s show highlights include:

*Why striving for excellence is crucial for achieving financial goals and personal growth. 

*Understanding how excellence is like maintaining different rooms in a house, with some areas requiring more attention and effort than others.

*An exploration of the spiritual dimensions of excellence, drawing from biblical references such as Ecclesiastes and the parable of the talents, and how the pursuit of excellence can be a way to honor and glorify God.

*How excellence can elevate entire organizations and communities, and why complacency can have detrimental effects.

*A breakdown of how a commitment to excellence helps you weather life’s storms and maintain resilience. 

Tune in to gain valuable insights and practical advice on how to pursue excellence in every aspect of your life. If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to leave a comment and share the show with a friend!

Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group. Thanks for tuning in to Retire in Texas. And as a reminder, this information is general in nature only. It’s not intended to provide specific investment, tax, or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. 

And also, go to PAXFinancialGroup.com and there’s some eBooks on there that you want to grab that we’ve been producing. Hopefully, gives you a little insight into our thinking. Okay so, this specific podcast is a financial podcast in nature, even though I’m not going to discuss economics with you because there is one, there are some circumstances over the years that somebody had a challenge meeting their financial objectives, and it couldn’t be resolved by saving more or paying down debt.

It was only resolved by them being better at their job, or getting a new job, or starting a business, or making more money. Getting a bigger shovel is the way I would say it. And so, I have to help my listeners and understand what it means to do things with excellence, because you make more money when you’re doing things with excellence, when people are willing to pay you for doing an excellent job.

And so, I need for you to understand how excellence works. And so, I’ll unpack this idea of excellence through four questions that I’ve asked myself personally about excellence. And excellence is such a robust dialog that I’m going to try to unpack this in 15 minutes, but it almost deserves more attention than this. But it’s my conviction that if you are struggling to accomplish your goals, then taking inventory, looking at yourself in the mirror, and saying, “Am I doing my job with excellence” is an important first step to getting more income.

So, I’ll start out with a story. It’s a dog food company. True story out of Miami. They actually had the convention in Miami. And the convention was interesting because it was a convention, was interesting because it was a sales conference. And the marketing director gets up there at this dog food company and says to the crowd, “Who’s got the best dog food in America?”

And the whole crowd cheers, “We do!” “Who’s got the best advertising in America?” “We do!” “Who’s got the best distribution, the best sales force?” “We do!” And there’s a pause. Marketing guy on stage in front of hundreds of people says, “Then why are we not selling more dog food?” And I’m sure it was a grumpy old man in the back that piped up, about to retire, doesn’t care anymore. And he yells for everyone here, “Because the darn dogs don’t like it.”

The reason I say that and share that story with you, is because an organization like PAX or any other organization, for an organization to meet its potential, every part of the organization has to be pursuing excellence. Otherwise, that organization will not meet its potential.

And so, if you’re working in an organization and you’re falling short of excellence, this is for you. And that could even be your own small business. Now again, I’ll get to these four questions in just a second. Another quick story about when I first started thinking deeply about excellence. 

Now, excellence is interesting because a lot of people think of it as, the entirety of a person being excellent. And that’s not how it is at all. That’s a very challenging and almost too much to absorb. But think of excellence as rooms in a house. In certain areas, you may find yourself being excellent in. Maybe I’m excellent in my health, but I’m not excellent with as being apparent. And sometimes those rooms you are willing to clean up and pursue excellence in and in others you just kind of let them stay dirty and dingy. And there’s consequences for that. 

Well, there was a time in my life where I realized that I needed to pursue excellence in communication, and it was my freshman year in college, and I’d never done a presentation before. Maybe I did in high school. I just do recall, and the presentation in front of this professor was simple. It was about our lives, where we’re from, our names, and why we were majoring in whatever. 

So, I’m preparing for this presentation, memorizing everything, walking back and forth, sweating. I asked my buddy, I’ll call him Paul, I said, “Paul, can you help me role play?” Paul’s like, “yeah.” He goes, “But why are you so nervous about this?” I go, “Man, I just never done this before this. I’m freaking out.” 

So, I get up there for the presentation in front of the class, which is probably only like 15 students, and I’m shaking, and I’m done. Right, I finish it. Mission accomplished. And I’m like, “Wow.” Paul gets up there and just like kicks back and goes, “Man, I’m Paul. I’m from San Antonio.” And I was like, “Paul, how did you do that?” He goes, “I don’t know. How did you get so nervous? This is so simple.” “I, I don’t know. I-this is just I, that’s just how I reacted.” But here’s, here’s my point. I knew that in life, in order to meet my potential, I had to pursue excellence in speaking. At that point forward it was a, it was a relentless pursuit of excellence in speaking. 

And I still haven’t arrived, and I may never arrive, but the progress I’ve made from today, back 25 years ago has been night and day. I hope that you can see some of that as I communicate with you today. But that’s been a relentless pursuit of excellence because I knew, I knew I wouldn’t meet my potential if I didn’t pursue excellence.

And so, the first question that we have to ask ourselves is, why is excellence so important? Why is excellence so important? I think that if you think about excellence in let’s, let’s think about this guy Paul for just a second that I just reference. And I’m making this up, by the way, I’m, I don’t know who’s listening to, but so, Paul, you’re listening. This is not you. This is made up. 

Actually, it’s a real person, but it’s not Paul. So, I guess, I’m trying to make sure that the story is, is confidential to a certain degree. But Paul is not doing well today financially, I do know this, and I think about that for a second. And I think that Paul just became kind of relaxed in life. He’s like, you know, I’m good. I’ve got a skill. I’m fine. And it ended up costing him. I mean, he’s unemployed today. I do know this to be true, and I’m doing okay. And I’ve been pursuing excellence. And so, I think the idea is that somebody who doesn’t pursue excellence cannot be complacent. And ignorance is not an excuse. 

You still get speeding tickets for ignorance. Let me give you a maybe a better example in our industry and the industry that I’m in right now, financial services, it’s doing exceptionally well. The market’s up. The baby boomers are needing a lot of help managing money. So, we’re getting a ton of clients. We’re growing like crazy. It’s such a blessing. I could be complacent, but my pursuit in excellence in this business looks at the next generation and says, “They’re going to engage with us differently.”

For example, there’s an online platform called Acorns. Baby boomers, 2% of baby boomers use Acorns, an online trading tool, but 15% of millennials use Acorns. So, this next generation of financial advice, consumers are building relationships with these tech platforms. So, I can’t live in ignorance and pretend that’s not a threat. I have to pursue excellence and find a way to convince this next generation that our services are valuable. Does that make sense? So, my point in this is that excellence is important because eventually, eventually in life, complacency catches up with you.

Question number two, is excellence a process or is it a destination? So, I worked at New York Life when I first started out, and I would sit in the cubicles and I’d have like, I don’t know how many people would come and go and come and go. It was a hard job. And I’m sit back there and I know that’s a hard job, but I go to my boss, and I wanted to know the answer to the question.

I’m just curious what he would say. I said, “Why? Why are so many people leaving?” And he said, I’ll never forget this. He said, “Too many people wish this job was easier and too few people wish that they were better.” I never forgot that. This idea of me in this cubicle, practicing over and over again how I would communicate over the phone.

So much so that I put a little sticker on my phone that said ‘coward’ because I just had to motivate myself. I was always practicing, preparing, role playing, thinking deeply about how to communicate, how to reach out to people. And it was that experience, despite the fact that I definitely had people who made fun of the way I would approach this craft that I was developing definitely had enough people snickering.

But it was the idea of preparing. And there’s a quote that exemplifies this. I found it and I don’t know who to credit it to, but “Excellence is preparing more than others care to or even expect, practicing more than the average person believes is necessary, and believing in the quality of every moment.” I love that quote. Excellence is a process, not a destination.

Number three, is excellence spiritual? You know, in Ecclesiastes [9:10] it says, “Whatever your hand finds it to do, do it with all of your might.” Now, the second part of Ecclesiastes 9:2, if you listen to Solomon, it kind of falls off a cliff and gets kind of dark. But the first half is really good. Do it with all of your might, and there’s plenty of scriptures about doing things with excellence. And I, and you can’t help but go to in, Matthew 25, the parable of the talents.

And I’m just going to summarize it for the sake of time. You can dive in on your own, but the idea is, is that you’ve got this master who leaves and goes away for a little bit. And he gives one servant five talents, he gives another servant two talents, and he gives this third servant one talent. 

The one with five talents, I don’t know how he did it, but he was able to make another five talents. The one with two talents, not sure how he did it either, but he was able to double his two. But the one with one talent was scared and so he hid his talent. He buried it. Master comes back, talks to the five-talent guy and says, “How did you do?”

He says, “Hey, look you give me five. Now you got ten.” What did the master say? The master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Love it. Second-talent guy doubled the money, doubled the talent. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The one-talent guy, or gal for that matter, Master comes up to him, “How’d you do?” “Scared. I was afraid.” Here’s what the master said. He said, “You wicked,” and he called him wicked which is kind of, that’s pretty – I mean, anybody being called wicked is a lot to handle. But the second word that he called him, “Slothful.” Called him “lazy and slothful.” That troubles me. I don’t want to look at God in the eyes any time in eternity and waste what he’s given me.

I don’t want to waste what he’s given me. Now, I’m not the five-talent guy. You’ve seen the five-talent guys. I mean, those are Tony Robbins or Dave Ramsey. These are just awesome people. I’m very happy being the two-talent guy, but if you gave me two talents, God, I want to make the most of it. And that parable of the talent is a really incredible story to digest.

And there’s a lot of spiritual meanings, but one meaning behind it that I think is important to digest is that this idea of doing things with excellence is spiritual and glorifying God. 

Last question, how does excellence, how does excellence impact others? Now, I mentioned the dog food story at the beginning, and that in the fact that if you do life with excellence, the whole organization rises to the occasion and meets their potential, which is really cool.

And frankly, we’ve seen a lot of failures in excellence over the years. You think about school districts for a second. I know there’s people out there with the skills to be able to take back our school districts for the betterment of our children. But whoever had those talents to get on the school boards in the past decade were complacent.

And you and you may know those people. You may not, but they were comfortable and complacent. And then as a result of being comfortable and complacent, our schools were hijacked by people with ulterior motives. And this happened in Wall Street too. Many people in Wall Street were comfortable, complacent, and all of a sudden, these corporations, these corporate boards, were run by activists doing things, like what they did at Target and Bud Light. 

So, complacency has its consequences. I think we’ve already recognized that. But the one room that I think, when we talk about excellence being a house, the one room that I really, truly believe that we should probably camp on a little bit more, and that’s the room of truth. Like being excellence when it comes to truth. What is truth? And you know me, my conviction is truth in the word of God.

And so, the reason that I like that is because excellence being a process you don’t really see in the short term, it’s very long term where you finally wake up and go, “Wow, this is beautiful. I’ve lived a life of intentionality.” But excellence does appear in storms. So for example, like as a minor example, if I were to go to the doctor and I get sick and the doctor says, “Darryl, you’re sick, you’ve got an illness, but you’re..” but he says, “but you’re strong and in good health, and you’re going to be okay.”

That’s just not like, hey, yesterday I worked out, that was me pursuing excellence with health. Or alternatively, let’s say I was pursuing excellence in a relationship with my brother. I’ll use my brother as an example, and we get in a little tiff. But because we’ve been building this relationship with excellence, this little tiff isn’t going to cause us to not speak for ten years.

So, excellence, pursuing excellence, and specifically in that room of truth is so important not only for your life, but to weather these storms. And imagine this, last example and then I’ll let you go. Imagine that you’re walking, and with a cup of coffee, and then all of a sudden somebody bumps you. Oh, man, what happens? You spill your cup of coffee.

Now the question is, why did you spill your cup of coffee? Well, because somebody bumped me. Nope. You spill your cup of coffee because it had coffee in it. It had tea in it. You’d have spilled tea.

So, when chaos happens, it’s what’s in your cup that matters. Now, I want to encourage you today to fill your cup with excellence. Hope that helps you guys today and encourages you. And remember you think different when you think long-term. Have a great day!

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