Intro by Edith
The name Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956) rings a bell in sports history. Seen as the greatest female athlete of all time, she overcame a height barrier (she was 5 ft. 6 in.) to become a basketball champion. She then conquered other sports such as boxing, tennis, diving, hurdles, javelin, high jump and golf. Why? Because she had a deep-seated desire to be the best at whatever she did. That is what we call a spirit of excellence. Babe set targets and trained relentlessly, with or without help. The laurels she accumulated were the expected outcome of that combination of attitude and lifestyle.

And to teach us how to cultivate such an admirable spirit is my sister, friend and blogging colleague, Ailie Baumann. I’ve observed that Ailie, like Babe, believes in giving her best in whatever she does. Her blogs are always beautifully and painstakingly crafted even though she is a wife and mother and has a full-time job. In this piece, her writing is rich and lucid as usual and she does not detach herself from the subject, thereby giving us the benefit of her personal experience.

This article is for everyone: wherever you are or whatever you are doing, having a spirit of excellence makes all the difference. So read, share widely and leave your impressions in “Comments.” You are highly blessed in Jesus’ name.


Throughout my childhood, my parents always told me to do my best. They didn’t expect anything less than my best. For me, this became an average of 80% throughout my school years and I managed to complete my university degree with the required 60% average. In no way do my averages make me an A-student but I know that I got these averages by working hard and doing my best.

I remember how each time I got a poor grade, the person hardest on me was myself. I hated not maintaining excellence. I equate excellence with godly living. Ok, I admit, a little ambition and drive don’t hurt either.

Still, as an adult, I apply myself wholeheartedly to what I do. The thought of not meeting expectations or doing less than “perfect” is stressful and at times devastating. My point is that excellence honors God, others and ourselves. It also comes out of a heart that understands what it means to be a child of God and the heart of a good steward. So, how do we cultivate a spirit of excellence?

Spend time with God. This may be in the mornings or at night. Find what works best for you and enjoy God’s presence. Learn what his heart is towards you, his plans for your life, and get his perspective on life.

I have found that most of what I have achieved in life has been because of God’s help. I have learned to turn to him in those moments I am overwhelmed or at a loss about how to successfully carry out my responsibilities.

Turning to God has been my source of strength, insight, wisdom, and guidance. I find myself regularly thinking of this scripture:

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

We need to also know who we are. This encompasses our identity in Christ,* our values and beliefs, and our internal motivators. Knowing these things will help you to understand how to channel your best efforts in all that you do to glorify God.

Part of knowing your identity in Christ is understanding your talents and gifts. Pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes is also important. What is it that makes you come alive? When you know your identity, you are able to be excellent as a state of being and not a role to play.

Knowing your identity in God gives you a fuller understanding of your greater purpose in life. This helps you to move forward with fervor and zeal, using your talents and gifts to work out or fulfil your God-given purpose. What we have in us is going to touch many lives. So, we strive to be excellent in all we do because we are God’s children and who knows how deep our impact will be as we seek to figure out our mission or purpose in life.

Furthermore, assess your internal motivators. For me, I am motivated by a job well done. I get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from it. On the other hand, one of my “negative” motivators is the approval and affirmation of others. So I combine these two motivators to drive my excellence.

I give more than what is required of me because I want to be seen and recognized. While this may not be the best motivator, it also helps me in my walk with God. I can take this motivator to Him and ask the Lord to help me value his opinion more than the opinions of others.

We live in a fast-paced society that is jam-packed with responsibilities, pressures, and activities. To cultivate excellence in your life, planning your day or week in advance will help you to control your day before it controls you. Some people have found that planning their day the night before works well; others, enjoy planning their entire week on the weekend. Whatever works for you, planning your day or week in advance will help you to approach each task in your day to the best of your ability.

Having a teachable and humble heart goes a long way in helping us to live an excellent life. Allow others to teach you what they know. Ask questions, research as much as possible, and remain open to learning different ways to accomplish tasks. Yes, you may know how to do something but someone else may have a different approach or know a few tricks that can help you get the same thing done in a fraction of the time.

Continue to grow in your area of expertise, interest, or hobbies. Better yourself in all areas of your life and you will find yourself exhibiting excellence more and more.

Father in heaven, plant in my heart a desire for excellence and help me to pursue it steadfastly so that I can accomplish exploits in line with Your purpose for my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

*An identity in Christ is obtained through salvation. That entitles you to the inheritance He has for the saints which you begin to enjoy from here till eternity. If you’re not yet saved, pray now asking God to forgive your sins and make you His child in Christ Jesus. Tell Him that you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and receive His Holy Spirit to live in your heart and help you live as God desires. Pray this in Jesus’ name.


Below is a brief bio from Ailie Baumann:
I’m a passionate, yet imperfect lover of Jesus, wife, mom, freelance writer, blogger and artist. I grew up in a Christian home and have loved Jesus my whole life. My life motto is to seize every opportunity that presents itself. My life’s mission is to love wholeheartedly, unapologetically and unashamedly.

As a writer, I seek to share my encounters with God in order to inspire and draw people deeper in their walk with him. I believe that God wants all of us to walk in the truth that He is a good Father who cares about every detail of our life.

I am from Johannesburg, South Africa, married to Sean (a business owner) and we have three lovely kids, My blog is Pen Paper Paint and my Facebook page goes by the same name.

Subscribe to to receive updates of new posts (inspirational, educational and entertaining articles, poems, quotes and graphics) in your mail. Subscription is free.

You can also like my Facebook page, Aunty Edith, follow me on Instagram, GooglePlus (1), GooglePlus (2), Twitter (1), Twitter (2), Pinterest and StumbleUpon. Plus, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Jesus is Lord!


  • Chika Udemba

    God is our creator and at the same time giver of everything. He has promised to come to our aid at everymoment with these words “ask and it shall be given ,seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open”, So i strongly believe everything in life works better with God.. Thank you for this wonderful piece.. May the good Lord bless you more!

    • Edith Ohaja

      You’re right, Chika. May God bless you more in Jesus’ name.

    • With God everything is possible. I got to understand that when someone starts to excel in life it not really the person doing that but it God that has given us the spirit of excellence. There’s nothing that Christ can’t do for us all we need do is to Love him and get closer to him.
      Thank you ma for sharing I really got a lot from this.

  • ifeanyi Flawlex

    The points lister are all awesome, the summary of the whole thing is that we should put God first in all we do and then we should avoid sin so as to be in good relationship with God. In fact everything you said is on point. I feel I have to follow all these steps in order to cultivate the spirit of excellence. And it starts now. 2017 is a year I don’t wish to joke with. Thanks I appreciate.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Bless you, Flawlex, and thank God for the writer, our beloved sister, Ailie! May God help you to reach your goals for 2017 in Jesus’ name.

  • Ugwu patience

    Nice introduction from Aunty. I can say that I am encouraged.Aunty Ailie’s piece is a must- read for all especially we students

    • Edith Ohaja

      Yes, Ailie is a great writer. I wish young people will expose themselves more to the work of people like her.



  • Asogwa Ruphina

    just what i needed to read to calm my self down. am feeling very down right now

    • Edith Ohaja

      What’s the matter, Ruphina? Hope it’s taken care of and you feel better. Have a happy and fulfilling year in Jesus’ name.

  • Some great insights, I was never really one of those people who tried that hard in school, I just got by doing as much as I had to! So I think I have a slighlty different set of problems now!

  • Great post! I love where you say you give more than what is required, and the reminder to care more about God’s opinions than others.

  • Oparaugo shalom

    The spirit of excellence is something that comes from God, but one should put in effort to attain that excellence and also work with God.

  • Odigbo Chidinma

    what a piece! a very interesting one at that. Ailie did a good job in pointing out the steps to follow in a bid to cultivate the spirit of excellence. This post is very educative and informative. Aunty Edith I cant forget to acknowledge the short but captivating intro you’ve got there.

  • Ishiwu Victor Chinonso

    what an interesting piece. credits to the author. thanks a lot aunty for this post. at least with the knowledge derived from this, one would have the basic knowledge about how to relate with God and be careful never to offend Him..

  • Obetta Collins Odinakachukwu

    The author said it all. The word of God told us that the ways of God are not the ways of man. Some things we do that may seem right before men may turn out to be evil before God. Thanks to the author who took out time to educate us on how we can relate with God and gain something from Him. Thanks also to you, aunty, for recommending such a wonderful post in your quest to model lives.

  • Ike Faustina Uchechukwu

    wow wonderful! this is a motivating piece of writing. from it i have learnt how to cultivate the spirit of excellence

  • In summary, excellence seems not to be an act, but a habit. It does not happen by chance but through highly reflective, carefully planned strategies. It comes with a high degree of internal consistency, too.

  • Ahubaraezeama J.C (sirchuks)

    Our relationship with God could only be strengthened, if and only if we humans avoid sin, though sin is inevitable, but we can help to curtail such… if we do such God blessings will be dancing around us. Bless u aunty edith

  • covenant

    It is intriguing to know that most people are no longer fighting or striving to be the best in what they do, rather they strive and fight never to fail. People who fight and pray never to fail often put in little effort that carries them above that failure line. While the other people who want to be the best, pray and work very hard for it.

  • Ogechi

    This piece got my heart beating hard! I have almost allowed failure keep me down. Oh Lord help me make you proud. I declare I’m a peculiar person, a chosen generation;I’m called forth to show ‘His excellence’ in Jesus name,Amen

  • Joy

    God is excellent and He has called us to this world to perform excellent works in all corners of our world… May we embrace the spirit of excellence in Jesus name Amen!!!

  • Nnamani Frankline Chinedu

    It seems DAT all these posts are meant for me alone. I am being inspired and taught by these post ma. I love them and I am treasuring them all in my heart. May God help me to know how to manage my time, committing my way and plan into God’s hands. Thank u ma.

    • Edith Ohaja

      For you alone, lol! But I know what you mean and I thank God for your attention. I say a big “Amen” to your prayer and ask God to grant you the grace to excel in all you do in Jesus’ name.

  • Eze charity Ginika

    There is this aura of anointing in dis piece of work dat has the ability to transform it’s reader into a right thinking member of the society where he or she touched a part of me dat even I did not know exist. Tank u ma for dis inspiring and wonderfully crafted work

  • Uba Chiemerie Jane

    Wonderful piece. I think learning to cultivate the spirit of excellence is what we are supposed to do, it will help us have a focus and a goal we want to achieve. All these are achieved through hardwork and most especially by the grace of God.

  • Chukwuma Nkemjika

    Am inspired!! Wonderful one Ma

  • Henrietta Okoye

    After a very stressful day dis is just something to relax myself with constantly.. It takes a good writer to know other good writers too

  • Hephzibah

    This was a nice read. Basically, it’s all about knowing yourself and what pushes you In your pursuit of success, as long as its within the confines of righteousness.

  • Ilediegwu nkemakonam joy

    If only we know how much he loves and cherishes us at least most pple who must have given up on their faith will understand dat with tym all that they hv asked will be given only if u Believe in him n be patient, thank u ma

  • Ani Chidinma M

    In his image he made us to manifest his glory by our excellent deeds.Thanks for bringing this to our minds. Be blessed Aunty.

  • Benjamin C.Nweke

    niece one ma’am.
    may God bestow us all with the spirit of excellence. Amen.

  • Bessong Faith Ada

    The points you presented are quite helpful. It’s going to be quite a challenge cultivating a spirit of excellence but i guess if others can do it, then i can.

  • Ugwu Chiamaka

    God is all knowing. He knows what we are meant to be as proven in Jer 1:5 “before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee. And I ordained thee a prophet onto the nations”. There is no better place to seek our purpose on earth than from God. Good one, Aunty.

  • Thank you ma for this awesome message. It has really been of great help to me. I pray that the Lord strengthen me to uphold all I have read and may he bless you exceedingly abundantly.

  • Isaac Nwanneka Oyiridiya

    I have actually learnt a lot from this.We should look above average level in our lives.God wants us to be the best in everything we do.Thank you ma for this,am blessed

  • Munachimso Precious

    If anything, I know today that when we do things excellently, we honor God, others and ourselves. Its always good to give our best but not always easy. However, with this writeup, I don’t think anything is hard except we aren’t consistent.
    Nice work, Ma’am.

  • Emmanuel Nancy o.

    it is very important to recognize that everything we are and will be is by his mercy and grace. God is more pleased when we work on the talents he gave to us, either by educating ourselves to be better at our gift or using it for his service.

  • Maduabuchi Emmanuel Chidera

    Just like the Holy Spirit puts in us the spirit of excellence,we should never settle for less but rather strive to become the best at what we do.The points mentioned are all awesome, the summary of the whole thing is that we should put God first in everything we do and avoid sin inorder to be in good relationship with God.

  • Njoku Chimamaka Elizabeth

    When we align our life goals with our heavenly purpose, nothing less than excellence awaits us. Very insightful!


    i am very richly blessed by this article. the spirit of excellence in our life makes all the differences and by living out this tips, we can become the new Daniel of our generation. the ability to remain teachable even when we feel we know better than the teacher and the grace to accept the goodness of God in our life. i make a commitment to excellence today and so help me oh lord, amen.

  • Lawrence, Ernest Enyi

    Such exquisite principles to begin with. These are not only do able but achievable. Cultivating the spirit of excellence with these tips will of course take not only to greater heights, but before kings and queens of our kind. I pray I always depend on God for everything I want to. This is where it is very important in order that I may achieve/obtain the excellent spirit.

  • Dike Gerald Osinachi

    quite nice! it’s inspiring. really, sometimes we get bored by our unexpected experiences and even our hobbies. a spirit of excellence gives perseverance. a good one. God bless you.

  • Alexis Okoye

    Thank you so much Aunty Ohaja for that wonderful message. it really melt my heart and i also learnt so much from that story. First, being a child of God is not just saying those prayers verbally without digesting it but putting it into practice as it is well said. More also, accepting God as your personal Lord and Saviour does not necessarily mean just turning into a new leaf or becoming a changed person positively but most especially, seeking for God’s message, honour, favour and mercy in conjunction with living a life that is pleasing to God always. Success in life is not a physical battle but a battle that is done in the spiritual realm irrespective of one’s hard work and struggles of life. I’m really blessed by your message.

  • Onwusonye Promise

    A spirit of excellence is really a motivating factor. it may seem uneasy to continue. but through this, we can.
    thanks a lot.

  • Orji Chidiebube Prudence

    wonderful piece I must say.. Knowing God, His will for you, planning your activities,being teachable … All to achieve excellence or rather have an excellent spirit. I learnt to pursue or seize every opportunity that presents itself and many others… More inspiration MA


    The points in this writeup are very good. Knowing God and being close to him is very important in anything we do. All our hardworks will not be in vain and our goals would be achieved.

  • Okorie Flora

    Whatever we do we should learn to learn to put in our best effort and also pray. prayers work with effort. This piece of work touched a part of me that I did not know existed. Thank you ma.

  • Nwankwo Gift.

    I agree with all the author has written as reasons why she pushes herself, which most important of all is God, except her need to be noticed. Being noticed can sometimes cloud your judgement and make you act how you normally wouldn’t, so I encourage in all she is doing, but she should endeavor to do things more for herself than the attention she gets.

  • Lynda chisom

    I love the fact that the post stated it clearly that for one to be excellent,he or she must know God,seek his guidance and know his or herself,excellence doesnt only require manpower cause when you work tiringly without seeking direction from our creator its all in vain.

  • Lynda chisom

    I love the fact that the post stated it clearly that for one to be excellent he or she must know God,seek guidance from him and know oneself cause if after working in a bid to pursue excellence without the direction from our creator it is in vain and for one to be excellent,he or she should know what he/she wants and work towards it.

  • Ukaga Arthur Jachimike

    God is the key to all success. Add a little bit of hardwork and we can achieve much in life. This piece inspires us all to involve God in our everyday dealings to ensure success. It is indeed a good write-up.

  • Amaugo Stephanie Chidinma

    Amazing! To be excellent is to be outstanding. A biblical example of excellence is Daniel. He had the spirit of excellence at work in him. One of the ways he cultivated this spirit was by reading because the bible tells us in the book of Daniel that “he understood by books”. Thank you, Ma, for sharing great piece.

  • Henry onyeka

    When we cultivate a spirit of excellence and we archive excellence there no greater joy in the world. We should also learn to understand ourselves and involve God have time for him in our lives so that with him we can understand our way of excellence and have a good perspective of life. Reading also helps in the formation of excellence not just our school books bit also Bible and other spiritual piece. Wow this is a good one Aillie. I think have work to do with my cultivation. Thanks for the advice.

  • Willie Albert Zikiye

    Excellence can be achieved but one have to identify with the giver of the of the spirit of excellence which is God. Without God, excellence is impossible. God gave Daniel the spirit of excellence and he was selected among his colleagues.

  • Onwuamaeze Ikechukwu John

    Thank God I’m privileged to be reading this post, I have a flair for success, and hunger for excellence. But, for years I have not been able to balance excellence with egoism. Every youth needs these steps as they help in building a person’s life.

  • It takes hard work and Gods blessing to attain success,so we should always combine the TWO…#Inspirational indeed.

  • This write_up is indeed motivating and educating as well.
    One take home lesson that mustn’t be overlooked is the fact that as we strive for excellence, God should be fully involved.

  • Olawole Ebenezer

    This is awesome.

  • Nnachetam Favour

    I was expecting to see a motivational write up, but I was actually disappointed but at same time blessed ’cause every line was spirit inspired.

  • Afiadigwe Nnedinso Rita

    Am honestly inspired.
    The spirit of exellence comes from God but we should also put in our efforts in achieving that cos determination is the key to success.

  • Chukwurah Nnenna Chisom

    Spirit of excellence comes from within . it makes you keep striving for more, and not settle down for less. Its more awesome when you work with God….

  • Mirian Ndawe

    I think I have the same kind of parents as Babe Didrikson Zaharias, my Dad would always tell me not to do good, good wasn’t enough but rather, I should do my best -whatever is worth doing is worth doing well, he would say. My mum on the other hand, would come in saying, in all what you do, always remember to put God first. Both parents raised me in a way that excellence has become a culture, not giving up, always winning…

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    What a deep insight by Ailie. Excellence is achieved by humblness, hardworking and prayers. May God help us.

  • Nwatu Vera Chisom

    Being humble and remaining teachable is essential because no man is an Island so no matter the heights you think you have attainned always remember that someone out there know something you don’t. This is a really beautiful post from Ailie.

    • Duru Gift Onyinyechi

      I believe that the steps listed above will help me cultivate the spirit of excellence when put into practice.

  • Our God is a God of excellence so when we spend time with him and blend it with our books we are good to go

  • Igwe Chioma Esther

    In maintaining excellence we must Know who we are and our identity is drawn from Christ and the talents or gifts He has blessed us with

  • Chukwumalume Ozioma

    The humility to remain teachable and plan one’s day are pertinent to maintaining excellence in any field. Our relationship with God and perfect knowledge of ourselves is unavoidable in attaining excellence.

  • Ebeyi Emmanuel

    The points mentioned are all awesome, the summary of the whole thing is that we should put God first in everything we do and avoid sin inorder to be in good relationship with God…….

  • Nwaorgu Cynthia

    God is the giver of everything
    Stick to Him and everything you need will be given to you
    I pray God bestows on me the spirit of excellence


    It’s good to cultivate a spirit of excellence especially through planning yourself well and believing in God.

  • Uchegbu Ogechi Elizabeth

    Thank you ma for this post. I have learnt to be humble in worshipping God. And most importantly to have a teachable spirit.

  • Nnaji Ozioma Faith

    To attain the spirit of excellence, God has to be primarily involved ” Know Gods perspective for your life ” God doesn’t just want us to be good, he was us to become the best at whatever we do. Thus to cultivate this spirit, one has to be intentional and strategically work towards it.

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