Certified High-Performance coach, speaker, author, husband, adventurer, former commando-paratrooper, and tsunami survivor.

How To Be Excellent At Anything in 4 Proven Steps


Everyone wants to be excellent at something, but it takes hard work and dedication to reach mastery. To be excellent is different from being the best; it means consistently doing your best to achieve the highest level of performance. Being the best means consistently outperforming everyone else.

The desire to be excellent at anything is fueled more by intrinsic reward than ego gratification. Whether you’re looking to hone a skill or become a pro in a certain field, you’ll need to set goals, put in the time, and stay motivated. The fastest way to be excellent at anything is to follow those four steps: awareness, ownership, action, and discipline.

This article provides a comprehensive methodology for achieving mastery in any area of your life. It is a powerful complement to the no-bullshit guide to creating success and fulfillment in life and business, where you will discover the essential 3-part formula for designing and living a more rewarding life. To maximize the effectiveness of this article, I strongly suggest you read the no-bullshit guide first and use it as a tool to guide your journey to mastery.

How To Be Excellent At Anything?

Why do we need to be excellent?

Because average is boring!

Striving for excellence will give your life positive challenges that will create happiness, excitement, and the satisfaction of always showing up as your best. Which ultimately leads to a rich life and no regrets. Is that not enough for a reason?

Self-mastery is the only way to be excellent at anything and reach the next level of abundance and happiness. Because you are the principal actor in the movie of your life, you are the only one who can change the script. You’ll never be able to change what life throws at you. You can’t change what you can’t control. The only thing you can control is YOU. To be excellent at life, you have to be excellent at being you.

I’ll save you the frustration, anger, and despair of trying to change what you can’t. It is exhausting and a total waste of time.

When you decide to change yourself, then magic happens. It is easier said than done, I agree! It would be great just to hit the switch to have and become anything you want. But, unfortunately, success doesn’t just happen. Although I’m not so sure it would be nice… 

How would you feel if you were instantly successful in everything you do?

I would be bored as hell! I would miss out on the thrill of growth, the pride of persistence, and the feeling of accomplishment. If you wait for self-mastery to happen or expect someone else to do it for you, you’ll live a mediocre life. Improving ourselves and reaching personal excellence is part of the human experience (it is the human experience). So yes, both the journey AND the destination matter. Honor your struggles; without them, the victory wouldn’t be as sweet!

So if it doesn’t happen by itself, how to get there? There are two ways: 

The fast track: being intentional 

The slow track: hope for the best

What does it mean to be a person of excellence?

Do you sometimes think that life is hard? It gets much easier when you stop doing what is not working. I reflect on that a LOT; surprisingly, I always find more things to change. By the way, NOW is always a good time. Hope is not a strategy! The wait-and-see method is inefficient. 

“Do what’s easy, and your life will be hard. Do what’s hard, and your life will be easy” Les Brown.

Being intentional on the other end will help you maximize your life experience and make the most out of the short time you’ve been given. To be excellent means constantly doing the best you can and proactively trying to get better at life. It is not a skill; it is an attitude, a lifestyle!

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

What do we need to be excellent at anything?

A framework! There is a process you can follow to deliberately increase your level of mastery and ultimately create more success and fulfillment in life and business. Once again, it’s not an easy and fast process; it takes time, courage, and commitment to be excellent. 

Framework - 4 proven steps to be excellent at anything

By following this process, you’ll be able to go from being consciously incompetent to unconsciously competent and learn to master a skill. There are four stages that reflect the psychological state of learning a skill:

Stage 1: Unconsciously incompetent

You don’t know what you don’t know and don’t see the need to learn it.

Stage 2: Consciously incompetent

You are aware of what you don’t know and understand why you should learn.

Stage 3: Consciously competent

You are competent but need lots of concentration to do it.

Stage 4: Unconsciously competent

You do things automatically.

Those stages are great for seeing where you are regarding a specific skill, but it doesn’t help you move forward. Furthermore, the skill we are talking about here is mastering yourself. Unlike driving a car; when after a while, you drive on autopilot (unconsciously competent), most of the aspects of self-mastery we’ve seen in the no-bullshit guide to create success and fulfillment in life and business require efforts and conscious thinking. 

For example, to keep choosing discomfort over growth, demonstrating courage, or taking risks, you must go against your mind. We are wired to prefer what is familiar and certain to conserve energy and go away from pain and discomfort. To reach self-mastery in those aspects, you’ll have to disrupt an unconscious impulse consciously. You can create the automatic habit of challenging your thoughts, but I don’t think you can’t change the unconscious impulse.

Therefore, excellence is not about the skill per se but about making a habit of getting better. 

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”


To accelerate the process and be excellent at anything you do, you might want to choose to work with a professional (very good choice!). Why did one of the richest men in the world say that the best investment you can make is in yourself? Read more about the psychology of investing in yourself.

Let’s explore the four steps to reach personal mastery and excellence:

Step 1: Awareness

“Knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience” (Cambridge Dictionary)

In other words, being aware means that you know what is going on and understand why it is happening; you are conscious of a problem or issue. It is obviously the first step to any change. Only when you are aware of the situation can you change your attitude, behavior, and beliefs to improve it and ultimately be excellent at anything.

When you are unaware, you don’t question things and accept the situation as a fatality without imagining the possibility of another way. There are different levels of awareness. From being totally unaware (being obese while thinking you are only a bit chubby) to complete awareness (I am overweight because of my lifestyle).

Here is the problem, most of the time, it is easier to be unaware because then we don’t have to do anything about changing the situation. People tend to think they understand themselves more than they actually do. Sometimes we prefer to ignore a problem because facing the truth is hard.

We have indicators all around us: listen to the mirror, the pull-up bar, your bank account, and the scale…They don’t lie. They tell you the hard truth. Maybe it’s not what you want to hear, but it is most likely what you need to hear. Decide to commit to changing what you are not pleased to see, and don’t be a victim of your reality.


You have to hit the breaks to create more awareness in your life. We keep living our lives at 200MPH, but what is the point of going fast if you go in the wrong direction? Increasing your self-awareness is taking the time to think about your life and about yourself,

Be aware of your situation

Where are you today? Where would you like to be? What is missing in your life?
Take this life assessment to have an overview of the different life categories (Quiz wheel of life)

Be aware of your thoughts

What positive and negative beliefs do you have about yourself? What negative thoughts do you tend to focus on? What don’t you want people to know about you? What are your core values? What’s your self-talk like?

Be aware of your emotions

What is triggering you? What gives you the most joy? What makes you happy? Do you understand your emotions?

Be aware of your behavior

Look at your past; can you see patterns? Why do you do what you do? What new habits do you want to have? What should you stop doing? What am I doing that is working? What am I doing that is slowing me down? What could I have done better today?

Be curious, expose yourself to new thoughts, ask questions, or even ask others how they see you! Even better, get a session with a coach!

When you are aware of yourself and your life, you can go to the next step. Let me warn you, as much as increasing your awareness is not always pleasant, taking ownership of your situation is even more challenging. But eh, if it were easy, we would not need to have this conversation.

How To Be Excellent at Everything - Reflection in Glass

Step 2: Ownership

First, let me clarify a few things:

I am not saying it is your fault.

I am not saying you chose it.

You can’t control everything that is happening to you. Sometimes you are a victim, sometimes, you are partly responsible, and sometimes you victimize yourself while you are the only one behind your problems. Do we agree on this? But even if, for some irrational reasons, you disagree, you can’t deny the following:

You can always decide to take full responsibility for your next step. 

And that’s what I mean by ownership. It is to realize that you are in the driver’s seat and that you can decide to turn left, right, or keep going straight. Taking ownership is to accept that if you don’t do anything, you will keep heading in the same direction.

Denial, complaining, and blaming don’t work anyway. Own your reality. Wishing for the whole world to change but you, will only create bitterness and frustration. Change will only happen with YOU. From YOU. 

How do you take ownership:

  1. Accept your part of the responsibility for your behavior (actions, words, thoughts,…)
  2. Forgive yourself for causing yourself so much trouble
  3. Then say no more! Now what?

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Tony Robbins

Step 3: Action

One of the most crucial steps to be excellent at anything is taking action; it is the creation of a new reality. There is a moment to reflect; there is a moment to act. Don’t fall into either trap: spending too much time reflecting (or not enough) or never assessing if your actions are actually helping you to move forward.

Define the desired outcome: You must know where you are going to. It doesn’t have to be crystal clear (don’t overthink), but you need at least a heading. Then dive deep into why it is important to you. You want to create something more than “it would be nice if…”. 

Explore the possibilities: There is not just one way to get there, be creative and explore the possibilities.

Create a plan: Think about a strategy that will help you break down the goal into small stepping stones. Start small and build up.

Put in place support structure: Motivation will go up and down. Everybody can show up when they feel good. What about resilience and perseverance going through hard times? Get a coach, a reward system, an accountability partner,…

Take action before you are ready: Here is the truth, you will never be totally ready, and the conditions will never be perfect. So don’t start with this illusion. Taking action is part of the research and figuring out what works and doesn’t.

How To Be Excellent at Everything - Ready for Action

Step 4: Discipline

“Everybody can do a 1h workout; it is what you do in the 23 other hours of the day that matters.”

One single action can change your life. Sustained actions will change your life. To be excellent at anything, you have to commit to doing more than one single action. It takes time and discipline to create success & fulfillment. Sometimes, it doesn’t look like it from the outside because we don’t always see the years of effort and consistent actions.

Make sure you keep your momentum going by doing something (that works) every day, even when you don’t want to. To build discipline, basically, you have to remember your goals and act accordingly.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

The cycle doesn’t stop at step 4. After taking consistent actions, you’ll start moving forward. And that’s good! But are you progressing at the pace you want to and in the direction you want to? Does your effort still make sense? It’s time for a new reality check to gain awareness about where you are now and what worked and what didn’t, take ownership of what you’ll do next, revise your strategy, and take more action. Then, repeat.

Bring excellence to whatever you do.

If you look at your skills, you can recognize those four steps. You went through them consciously or not. And it worked. We can intentionally use this process to face our problems and bring excellence to whatever we do instead of hoping for the best.

You don’t have to aim to be in the top 3% of the world at everything you do. You don’t have enough time for that. You’ll have to choose. The best is to focus on your problems first to create a better life, then optimize the rest to go from good to great.

To be excellent at anything, just follow the framework. It is simple, and it works.

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Download Chapter 1 of my new book: "The Illusion of Time"

After nearly dying in a tsunami, I dove deep into personal growth, trying to find answers to my questions. I promised myself to live every single day to the fullest and inspire others to do the same. But for that, I had to get better at life. In my book “The Illusion of Time,” I put together 11 lessons to not suck at life and make the most out of it.

Download Chapter 1 of my new book: "The Illusion of Time"

After nearly dying in a tsunami, I dove deep into personal growth, trying to find answers to my questions. I promised myself to live every single day to the fullest and inspire others to do the same. But for that, I had to get better at life. In my book “The Illusion of Time,” I put together 11 lessons to not suck at life and make the most out of it.

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