top of page

Choose to Excel

We Each Have a Choice

Karen and Jay share thoughts on choosing to excel – and in this video even reference the advice of Coach Nick Saban of Alabama on the concept of ‘choosing to excel.’ Here’s a link to Coach Saban’s comments: Enjoy Karen and Jay’s thoughts above.

It’s really up to you. Your life; your decision. Will you choose to excel? Be the best you can possibly be? Or will you be satisfied to settle in and accept being ‘just average?’ The truth is that none of us are under any obligation to choose excellence. In fact, it takes enormous commitment, focus and intensity to achieve excellence. Moreover, it requires living up to high personal standards and a consistent effort over an extended period. So, understandably, you may not choose this path.

However, if you do commit yourself to excellence, the rewards can be breathtaking. And I’m not referring to the material rewards. Although these most likely flow in your direction. Nor am I referring to the fact that you will undoubtedly earn respect from those with whom you interact and be held in high esteem. Instead, what I am referring to is internal. It’s that sensation deep within your soul. It’s the feeling of self-pride. It’s knowing that you are exerting all your efforts to be all that you can possibly be; to do all that you can possibly do; and that you are achieving the fullness of your god given potential.

Think about the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for making progress on a goal, or even reaching one of your goals. At some point, we have all been told to ‘strive for perfection.’ There’s no better grade in school than 100 percent, and no better ranking on your annual performance evaluation than first amongst your peers. And whether you can achieve perfection, the truth is that the reward is in the effort – in setting the goal, striving mightily to excel and letting the chips fall where they may.

Think about it. If you choose to excel towards something each day for a year, you’ve taken 365 steps towards achievement. In our personal lives, the concept of incremental goal setting isn’t anything new. Looking to run a marathon? First, run a 5k. Want to lose 50lbs? Focus on that first 5. Multiple studies support setting goals that are specific, timely, actionable, and represent an incremental step towards the larger goal. Taking these actions leads to progressive achievements and higher success rates.

Take the concept of incremental goals and apply it to each thing you do. Something that seems straightforward at first glance may require multiple steps or have interconnected requirements. Each goal aims to move you forward while focusing on the result, so ensure the goal provides value and supports the result, rather than creating additional work. This focus on progress helps maintain forward momentum. By choosing to focus on progress and excelling, to achieve a desired result, you can reduce the stress of attempting to achieve perfection, increase your own morale, and build great habits for a better you!

‘Excellence’ in Name and More

A few years ago, an organization that I know well was going through some major changes, and they purposefully chose to include ‘Excellence’ in their new name. The ExcellenceNorth Alliance (ENA) is chaired by my good friend Tom Raffio who is one of the best examples I know of someone who chooses to excel! He applies that mindset to everything he does whether it's running Northeast Delta Dental where he is President/CEO or in the many community races the company sponsors and he runs in. He chairs a number of committees, has mentored many and spoken at numerous conferences on the theme of excellence. While at the same time, the ENA has discovered over years of working with organizations and leaders throughout NH that many only set the bar at ‘good’ or ‘that's good enough.’

The definition of joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or a sense of well-being. One does not achieve this by just doing good - maybe happiness, but not true joy. To help others feel the same way they do about excellence, the ENA recently service marked the phrase "We Make Excellence Exciting!" They do this by helping organizations break down the silos and barriers that are holding back creativity and joy and releases them by developing a better, more powerful, and meaningful story of the organization along with what and how they should be doing this in the world - particularly by developing a more systemic vs. siloed approach.

The ENA brings this thinking of excellence to communities as well, and last year created the Dr. Sylvio Dupuis Community of Excellence Award to recognize those communities that are working hard on changing their trajectories. Last year my hometown of Newport, NH was the first to be awarded this prestigious honor for all the many positive changes that are taking place in a community that had faced a challenging time, but is now on the road to excellence. It's a community that can be proud of its revitalization and where it is going. Newport has chosen to excel, and what's really great is that everyone benefits from that choice!

As if that's not enough, the ENA looked around and asked themselves what they could do to improve the NH ecosystem in order to help communities, organizations and people to sustainably thrive. Earlier this year, they convened a group of business and thought leaders from around NH. The name for this group, of which I am proud to be a member, is called the ‘Genesis Think Tank.’ The name itself is a giveaway in that this group is not interested in just moving the needle a little but is looking to make substantive changes. The other members are people who themselves have chosen to excel in their lives and include such well-known leaders as Joanne Conroy, Howard Brodsky, Sheryl McQuade, Liran Edelist and others. These people don't just choose to excel for themselves but instead, lead by example. For instance, Howard Brodsky is very passionate about reducing the 'poverty of hope' in this world by promoting ‘Capitalism with a Conscience’ and makes good on it through the various coops that he leads at CCA Global.

And finally, Tom Raffio has coined the term 'lethargy' as a way to describe the current situation with the many organizations and people who are feeling the effects of the weight of the world upon them. To break through this malaise, we must choose to do something, and the best choice is to excel and bring sunshine and joy to this world much like the ENA and the Genesis Think Tank have chosen to do! Please visit to find out more on how to Make Excellence Exciting!

Fueled by Kids - Making the Difference

One of the best things about New Hampshire is just how charitable and giving we all are. Although we are known for our Yankee frugality, the truth is that when it comes to helping out those who are less fortunate, we Granite Stater’s open up our hearts. And especially during the holiday season, we see so many choose to step up and rise to the occasion. One shining example is an organization, founded in 2016 and that today has become one of the finest organizations dedicated to fighting food insecurity. Moreover, one of the most remarkable things about this group is that - it was founded by and is run by Kids! In fact, it is actually called ‘Fueled by Kids.’

The Mikol family is well-known throughout New Hampshire. Brian, the dad, is a good friend and incredibly giving to his community. He’s served on nonprofits, has coached youth sports, and created hundreds of jobs across multiple sectors in the Granite State. Well, the apple didn't fall far from the tree, because his kids are the same, especially in terms of giving back.

In 2016, the children of Anne and Brian Mikol realized there was a big problem going on with kids who did not have enough to eat. They became aware that kids across the city of Manchester were going weekends without anything to eat. They went home and took action to ensure those kids had food to sustain themselves and not go hungry on those days when school lunch was not available. Fast forward to today and their once thoughtful and heartfelt idea has become a nonprofit helping children throughout the greater Manchester area facing food insecurity today.

Fueled by Kids is a totally volunteer organization providing food to almost 1,000 students across 20 schools in southern New Hampshire every week. Every dollar raised goes right back to fighting food insecurity. There is nothing that stands in their way to ensuring they are providing meals for those most in need. In April 2020, WMUR TV-9 ran a piece on Fueled by Kids and showcased their resilience and their ability to provide meals to kids in the community despite school closures and inability to congregate due to Covid. It vividly demonstrated what kids with a purpose can do!

As a member of the community, I am incredibly thankful for what the Mikol family and all the volunteers of Fueled by Kids are doing to fight food insecurity. As a parent, I know just how proud Anne and Brian must be of their kids.

I invite you all to take a look at Fueled by Kids by visiting their website at And just like the Mikol kids who chose to make a difference, you can do so also as there are a number of ways to get involved, from volunteering to making a donation. Your impact will be felt, and you can be part of the magic these kids are doing day in and day out.

Positive Profile of the Week: Chuck Morse - Driven to Excel

This week we are delighted to highlight one of the most highly respected and knowledgeable leaders in our state, a great friend and a man who personifies the commitment to excellence: Senate President, Chuck Morse.

Born in Salem, New Hampshire, Chuck is true New Hampshire through and through. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Plymouth State University, and after college, founded his family landscaping and gardening center, Freshwater Farms, which he has grown year after year. He and his wife, Susan, have one daughter, Emma, their pride and joy.

He started his journey in politics in 1998, winning election as a State Representative. Chuck then rose to the Senate serving from 2002 until 2006 and then rejoined in 2010. In 2013, he was elected President of the Senate and has become widely respected not only for his leadership of that body, but also for his deep and unparalleled knowledge of the state’s budget and fiscal issues.

Interestingly, as President of the Senate, Chuck is the second ranking office holder in state government, following only the Governor. In fact, on a few occasions, as President of the Senate, Chuck has ceremonially become the Governor of New Hampshire when the Governor has traveled out of state. Moreover, in the case of 2017, he was the acting Governor while the transition between Governor Hassan and Governor Sununu were taking place.

As Granite Staters we owe Chuck Morse great thanks for his selfless service to our state over the past several decades. He has also been an active and leading contributor to the Salem-Atkinson area and is well known for giving back and helping his neighbors. As he ends his term in the Senate this month, we congratulate Chuck for all that he has done and know that he will continue to lead, to serve and be a role model for all those who strive for excellence in their personal and professional lives.

Quotes of the Week: Excellence

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

Colin Powell

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”


“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”

Pat Riley

“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”

Thomas J. Watson

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.”

Ralph Marston


bottom of page