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If You Want to Be Great at What You Do

Half the battle is choosing something you love—not something you should love or used to love. But something you love. Something that fits the person you are today.

Back in my twenties, for example, I had a mostly healthy obsession with grammar and punctuation. I loved those years of being an editor, I loved that some of my friends nicknamed me "Slash" (you know who you are). Yet there came a time when I wanted to do something else.

Ever reach a point where you're itching to do something else?

Listen to that. Follow where it leads. The late choreographer George Ballanchine said, "I don't hire people who want to dance. I hire people who have to dance."

What is it you have to do and can't not do?

Once you know what drives you—and by the way, it might have nothing to do with a paycheck—invest in it. Invest part of your income, invest your time, invest your heart. And while that may sound obvious, notice how a lot of folks would rather skip all of these and just go shoot the breeze.

If I can just get on my soapbox for two seconds ...

These are the same folks who say, "It's easy for you. You're naturally good at (teaching, preaching, speaking, designing, etc.)."

On the contrary, when we see someone who's outstanding at what they do, we can be sure they're putting in extraordinary effort behind the scenes. They're doing things/giving up things the rest of us aren't always willing to do/give up.

For example, the best public speakers I know spend hours rehearsing. They practice in the shower (so I'm told). They practice in their cars. They practice in front of a mirror. They even talk to themselves. Last Friday, in an effort to do my best for FOX5 San Diego and our veterans, I did all of these. (Yep, that's a link to my segment/salute to our veterans.)

Bottom line: People who are great at what they do are willing to invest in their abilities, willing to sweat, even willing to look foolish. They may get complimented on being a "natural," but they know natural ability doesn't begin to tell the whole story.

What is it you love enough to want to be the best, or at least your best?

What step could you take this week to become even better? Take it—and watch what it does for your mood and your confidence.

Photo of Gina DeLapa

Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at