In summary, if you want to achieve excellence in any endeavor, it will require years of persistent practice, humility to learn from a coach who will help you see what you can’t such as your blind spots and advice on how to improve, and the courage to love family and friends. Your love will nourish them with emotional support and encouragement just as their love and encouragement will nourish you.   Encouraged and loved, you’ll find you can persevere through the peaks and valleys you’ll encounter along the way.

It’s surprising, isn’t it, that developing one’s heart is an essential but rarely mentioned element to achieve excellence.  It’s no wonder then that Jesus had so much to say about the heart.  Like Andre Agassi, you may achieve excellence for a season, but it is utterly unsustainable unless you develop, as Psalm 78:72 points out, a “true heart.”

Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of the bestselling book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson).

Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities (, and he is the author of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press).  Michael Lee Stallard ( is president of E Pluribus Partners ( a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop “Connection Cultures” that boost productivity, innovation and performance ( ).