Excelerated Accomplishment™ has become Excelerated Contribution™. Contribution incorporates accomplishment and then expands on the concept of “achieving meaningful objectives”. With Excelerated Contribution™ we accomplish not only for ourselves but for those we love and for the whole world.
Title Photo by Karolina Grabowska
The Move from Excelerated Accomplishment™ to Excelerated Contribution™
“Nevermore will I be satisfied with yesterday’s accomplishments . . . I can accomplish far more than I have, and I will . . .” [Mandino]
Recently, I was reading in a book by Og Mandino and read the words above. As I thought about it, I decided that I would prefer making a contribution to the world, rather than focus simply on what I can accomplish. So I changed the words and in my thoughts, I read: “Nevermore will I be satisfied with yesterday’s contributions . . . I can contribute far more than I have, and I will . . .”
But then I thought, “Wait a minute. One of the Excelerated Life™ practices is Excelerated Accomplishment™. If I prefer contribution over accomplishment, shouldn’t the practice reflect that?”
And so, just like that, Excelerated Accomplishment™ became Excelerated Contribution™!
Contribution and Accomplishment
Well, perhaps it wasn’t quite that simple. But shifting from accomplishment to contribution seemed like a way to more aptly define what we’re trying to do. The tagline remains “achieving meaningful objectives”. And it seems to me that an emphasis on contribution is a means to that end – achieving meaningful objectives.
Because look at the difference. Accomplishment is self-focused while contribution is focused on other people or the common good. Inward facing vs. outward facing. Of course, you can both accomplish and contribute but you are more likely to make a lasting contribution when you focus on that objective, rather than on your accomplishments. Make your contribution intentional, not an after-effect of your accomplishments.
Making the Shift
Excelerated Contribution™ (formerly known as Excelerated Accomplishment™) is one of the practices in the principle of Goals and Goal Setting. In this Excelerated Life™ principle, we attempt to focus on process goals rather than outcome goals most of the time but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes we equate accomplishment with achieving a specific outcome. When you have an outcome goal, you’re only successful when you achieve that outcome. And frequently, there is a bit of a letdown soon after.
When you change your focus from accomplishment to contribution, you may see changes such as these.
- When you focus on what you can contribute, there is less of a sense of success or failure, because you are doing what you can do in the moment.
- You will be seen differently by others. Your unselfish contributions make you sought after as a team player and a servant leader.
- You’ll spend less time on things that don’t matter. When you have a contribution mindset, you see more clearly where you should spend your limited and precious time. And just as importantly, what you shouldn’t do or need not do.
- You see more opportunities. When you shift your focus from “how will this benefit me” to “how can I contribute my time, skills, and other resources to benefit others”, your view of the world and of the opportunities open to you grows and expands.
Make Your Contribution Bigger Than Your Reward
“Always make your contribution bigger than your reward” is one of the “Laws of Lifetime Growth” as presented by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura in their book of the same name. Because, as they explain, “increased contribution to others is essential for lifetime growth.” [Sullivan]
In our terminology, accomplishment is mainly driven by rewards, while contribution is mostly concerned with making a difference, although rewards will often follow. In fact, when you give your attention to making a real contribution and forget about the reward, your reward can often be greater than you anticipated. [Sulliven]
Also, when you concentrate on making a contribution, your relationships change and grow stronger. People don’t want to partner with someone who has a reputation for always taking more than they give. They want to align with those who are making a contribution; the ones focused on giving rather than on getting. [Sullivan]
How To Move to Excelerated Contribution™
In The Laws of Lifetime Growth, Sullivan and Nomura offer these suggested actions to move toward making bigger contributions.
- “Practice a no-entitlement attitude.” Having a no-entitlement attitude means that you believe you must contribute before you can be rewarded. In one sense, the contribution is its own reward. You don’t wait for opportunity to find you, you get busy and find ways to contribute.
- “Look for ways to contribute.” Look for unmet needs. Go above and beyond the call of duty. Make a contribution for its own sake, without concern for reward or achievement.
- “Beware of ‘reciprocity'” – the idea that you must be rewarded for everything you do. Focus on what you’re giving, not what you’ll receive. And don’t do everything with an eye for what you’ll get out of it. Instead, look at the differences you can make.
Give Back More Than You Take
“Life is worthless unless you give back more than you take.” ~ Gay Courter, The Midwife
Ever since I learned this concept of giving back more than you take from reading Things That Matter by Joshua Becker, I’ve tried to make it part of my daily living. And it’s an excellent reason to practice Excelerated Contribution™. To give back more than I take, I write this intention in my journal every morning: “Today, I COMMIT to leaving people, place, and things better than I find them.” For me, this is choosing contribution over accomplishment.
How do you do this? How do you give back more than you take? Well, there are many different ways but a good place to start is to think about these questions posed by Joshua Becker.
“Because of your intentional living . . .
- Are relationships healthier?
- Are the poor better off, or the sick healthier, or the uneducated better informed?
- Is our physical world in better shape?
- Is there more beauty to enjoy?
- Is there more wisdom to follow?
- Is there more kindness for people’s fragile hearts?”
From Accomplishment to Contribution
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — that is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
So why change the practice? Actually, it isn’t the first time I’ve made a change to the Excelerated Life™ practices. While I want them to be foundational, something upon which we can build our Excelerated Lives, they are still, in a sense, a work in process, subject to clarification as we gain more knowledge and understanding.
Of course, the underlying reasons behind the practice remain the same but the change of focus brings more clarity to the practice. Changing the wording from Accomplishment to Contribution shines the spotlight where it should be – on our contributions to our world, not simply on what we are able to accomplish individually. It’s how we give back more than we take and leave our world a bit better.
I hope I’ve shown that contribution incorporates accomplishment. It expands on the concept of “achieving meaningful objectives”. We accomplish, not only for ourselves but for those we love and for the whole world. Excelerated Contribution™. It’s one step in embracing your Excelerated Life™!
How do you see contribution in relation to accomplishment?
How can you combine your accomplishments and your contributions?
Share your ideas by leaving a post below.
Excelerated Contribution™ — achieving meaningful objectives — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.
(formerly Excelerated Accomplishment™)
Read more about the Excelerated Life™.
Becker, Joshua. Things That Matter. New York: WaterBrook, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2022.
Mandino, Og. The Greatest Secret in the World. New York: Bantam Books, 1978.
Scott, Mike. “What happens when we shift our focus from achievement to contribution?” Medium.com. A Medium Corporation, July 29, 2020. Web. January 7, 2023.
Sullivan, Dan and Catherine Nomura. The Laws of Lifetime Growth: Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past (2nd Edition). Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2016.