My sister sets themes rather than New Years resolutions. For example, “Be Open to Change.” She carriers her theme through the year and uses it to guider her choices. This year, I decided to follow her example and pick a theme along with my goals. My theme is: “Excelsior!”

Part of the reason I chose “Excelsior!” was because I realized that there was an abundance of good things in my life. And that’s a problem.

You’ve probably heard these bits of advice:

  • “Good is the enemy of great.”
  • “What got you here, won’t get you there.”
  • “You become successful by saying, ‘Yes.’ You stay successful by saying, ‘No.'”

These oracular maxims all highlight the importance of selection.

Our time, energy, resources, and attention are finite. A key lever in creating an exponential return on these is to be selective and don’t settle for good options.

That doesn’t mean that you ignore every opportunity that isn’t excellent, just that you don’t pursue it until it is.

As entrepreneurs our core skill is increasing the value of things. Good options are degrees away from being excellent options if we employ this skill.

This applies to both your life and your business:

Rather than getting dinner and drinks with friends (good), volunteer together in service to a cause you care about (excellent.)

Rather than taking on a client where the agreement will pay the bills (good), negotiate to create more value for both parties (excellent.)

And if you don’t have the resources or inclination to increase the value of an option, let it pass.

Life is fleeting. Raise your standards and enrich your experience.

Featured image is from an illustration for Longfellow’s poem “Excelsior” in an 1846 collection. Used under public domain.