We Are What We Do Repeatedly: How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

When I first heard, “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”, I thought no that’s not true, but then I thought maybe it is true.

What do you think? Is this statement true or false?

Research on Personal Standards and Excellence

The following articles describe how personal standards impact personal and professional success, organizational health, and societal health.

Personal Competence, Values, Self-Esteem and Worth.

In the link above, the author suggests that a personal standard of excellence leads to organizational excellence.

Employees with sloppy personal standards of “getting by” or taking the shortest and easiest route have been linked with having mental health issues, problems coping, addictions, violence, and loneliness.  Many of these problems are a result of behavioural patterns and standards established during youth.[1]

Career Planning and Excellence

This article connects personal excellence with business excellence. Excellent people create excellent partnerships, excellent processes and products that make excellent organizations.

Excellence involves:

  • Knowledge, understanding and evaluation of self.
  • Development of positive, healthy relationships.
  • Ability to work well with others.
  • Ability to achieve good results.
  • Ability to manage stress.

What are Your Personal Standards On …

Completing Projects

How do you complete projects? Do you finish them or leave them unfinished? Are they good enough or are they completed to a high-quality standard?

When I start a project, I plan, monitor, improve and provide quality work in a timely fashion.  I pull in other experts as team members and lean on them to assist me in successfully completing the project to the expected standard.

How do you set and meet your standards on projects?

Trustworthiness and Dependability

Can people trust you at your word? If you say you will take on a project or task, do you? If you say you are going to call, do you? If you agreed to meet someone, do you?

Most of us will give people a chance to prove their abilities and trustworthiness. If they fail too many times and aren’t dependable, we will look for someone else that is trustworthy and dependable. Those who are untrustworthy or not dependable, can’t keep their word, or show up, cost the organization in terms of time, reputation, and money.  Once trust is lost, it is difficult to get it back. 

Trustworthiness and dependability apply to our personal situations as well. Have you ever hired a contractor to do a job and they didn’t show up, or they reneged on the contract, or they didn’t finish the job? Think of the impact that has on your situation when you really need the work done.

Excellence: Make Excellence a Habit

Is your work excellent (notice I didn’t say perfect)? If you couldn’t go back to work, could someone pick up where you left off?

Excellence is not perfection; perfection is a myth.

All employers are looking for employees that have a code of excellence. These employees tick all the boxes and make life easier for their managers. Their work is of a quality that makes them the “go to” person in the organization. They have a clear understanding of what their work is and what outcome is expected. They understand how their work ties into the bigger mission and objectives of the organization. These employees have a backup plan so that their work can be carried on seamlessly.  They check in with the manager to keep on track, they check their facts, they build relationships with others, and they complete their work. If they make a mistake, they take responsibility for it. They give a heads up to their managers when they think a problem may arise, so that the manager can prepare as well.

Excellence applies in our personal lives as well. Have you ever hired someone to do a job for you and they left the project unfinished and needing more work than when you hired them?  Or they took much longer to complete the work than you agreed to? For example, they didn’t properly finish plumbing, or electrical work and you were put at risk of an electrical fire or flood.

We depend on others to provide quality work and keep us safe.


How do you look after what has been entrusted to you? Do you take care of your things, or do you ignore them and let them fall apart? Have you proven that you can handle the small things so that you can handle bigger things and more responsibility?

If you are unable to handle the smallest responsibility you will not be given more responsibility. Everyone is tested on this. When children are growing up, responsible parents will give them little tasks to do until they master them, and then they are given more responsibility. 

The same principle applies to employees at work. When they start a job, they master the basic skills/tasks and then they can do more complicated tasks. If they can’t or won’t master the basics, they will have to find another job.

With friendships, the same kind of stewardship applies, friendship requires mutual respect. Call when you say you will, meet the person you committed to meet, respond when someone contacts you.  If you are sloppy in your friendships, they won’t last.   Make your word a standard of excellence.


What does this have to do with leadership mindset?  Leaders have a mindset that includes a standard of excellence, quality, trustworthiness, dependability, and stewardship-their word is their standard of excellence.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle

[1] Herr, E.L. (1998). Counseling in a dynamic society. Contexts and practices for the 21st century. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Published by Diane Allen

Hi there, my name is Diane and welcome to my blog site! Leadership mindset is the mindset that embraces, vision, courage and action.

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