In pursuit of excellence, be a better lawyer podcast, dina cataldo, how to pursue excellence

#20: In Pursuit of Excellence

The greats — those who have achieved excellence — have three things in common.

Are you in pursuit of excellence?

This week I talk about how we all can achieve excellence, what holds us back, and how we can move through set backs to create excellence in our lives.



Hello, there. I hope you are having a wonderful week. I am really happy to talk to you right now, I am speaking from a loft in New York City getting ready to meet some amazing women entrepreneurs in the online space, Selena Soo, Laura Belgray, just to do a little name-dropping and 11 other women that I am lucky enough to get to spend some time with tomorrow. As I was walking around the city the last couple of days I noticed that the same theme came up over and over again for me, and that is the pursuit of excellence. What it is that we find so fascinating and I know I find fascinating about those who pursue excellence. This all started just a few days ago me thinking about this when I was watching Shin Lim and a magician on America's Got Talent, and he really was magical. I mean, he was amazing. He made everything look so effortless and I went back into some of his videos because of course everything's online now, and I saw the evolution of his performances because it's not just simple card tricks. There's lighting, there's smoke, there's this artistry to it that makes him stand out. It was not always as smooth as the America's Got Talent performances. I mean, you go back years and there were videos spanning years and the same performances that he was doing he had not yet perfected. He was doing the same performances and tweaking them so that they could be better and better.

That's really what excites me and that's really what I think excites so much of us when we see athletes, and we see actors who are they seem to have found that magic formula, they found that magic condition where they are just amazing at something. We feel that we're not that amazing.

We're looking up to them as if they're something special, like they don't have the same insecurities that we have as if they don't have the same difficulties working through their own mental blocks. One of the things that really got me thinking more and more about this was just walking around and seeing these monuments to the spirit of the people creating the skyscrapers, the artwork in the amazing museums here, the artistry of the architecture, just amazing corners of this city, where these artists who we have revered where we've put them you know upper echelons of human creation.

We've put them in this lofty position when really they're no different than us, every person who has achieved excellence has one thing in common, and that is they didn't quit, they didn't stop, they didn't think about all of their failures and just get tripped up on those. They saw their failures as a stepping stone.

One of the exhibits that I saw at the Met was Delacroix and he is a French artist, was a French artist. He had an amazing body of work, and part of this body of work included sketches and half done paintings of the precursors of amazing works that he did. You could tell that he went through these pieces over and over and over again refining them, creating something better and better until he created what we think of as a masterpiece.



Now, what they call art is something that is as good as done, there's a phrase that goes something like a piece of art is only done because the artist has walked away. It's not because the artist doesn't want to continue to refine it but at some point you have to walk away, or it's never going to be done. There was another exhibit Degas and Edgar Dagas, he had another collection of beautiful paintings. One of the things that he did to model the ballerinas that he had in his painting was create casts of figures so that he could model them the way that he wanted to, so that he could study those models so that he could put them in paintings. He never intended to hold onto those castings. In fact, they were all meant to be discarded but his family after he passed found all of these casts in his studio and decided to have them bronzed. These were things that were meant to be thrown away, they were meant never to be shown on exhibit. And yet, if we look at them now it shows us the evolution of an artist. It shows us how much work Degas had to do in order to create the masterpieces, those things that we consider masterpieces in the museums today.

When we think about our own work, when we think about our own lives and how we may or may not be satisfied with what we're doing, there's a couple things we can do to really figure things out, to really get some perspective. One of those things is to recognize that perfection doesn't exist.

The thing that matters is that we are putting forth our full effort and we're going to have to walk away whether or not we're creating something for business, whether or not we're creating a beautiful artwork, whether or not our work is creating a family and doing the best we can to raise our children. Each of these things requires us to step away at some point and let it be. That's the first thing is just letting it go. It's very difficult to let go of things when you feel like if you could just have your hand in it a little bit longer, you could make it perfect. There's no such thing as perfection.

The second thing is to just start, a lot of us get caught up in the need to be perfect, that perfectionism and it causes us to be paralyzed, it causes us to procrastinate to the point where we don't actually do a single thing.

I could sit here all night and not record a podcast because I'm afraid it's not going to be perfect. Then, I would never actually do it, I would be breaking that commitment with myself because I have committed to creating a podcast every week for you. It's also for me because it helps me too. This helps me create in a way that I can't create in other ways, so that second thing is to just start. Just do it, just keep pressing forward. The third thing to do is when you start and you recognize that what you're creating is not what you had in mind, don't stop. Each of the artists that I've mentioned and every artist creates something and isn't happy with it, but guess what? They start from scratch, or they refine what's in front of them. There were paintings like I was telling you Delacroix had done paintings and sketches and did things over and over and over again and you could see the metamorphosis of those paintings and the same goes for all of the artists that I've seen. All of the artists when I've traveled to Italy, France, all of the artists it's the same theme and it's the same for everyone who does anything. If you're in business, if you're a lawyer, you try and you get up and you try again. Maybe you didn't say the words that you meant to say during your closing argument. Well, guess what? You're going to have trials in the future and you're going to be able to apply what you learned to the next trial.what we think of as a masterpiece.Maybe you didn't create that perfect business with everything that just fell according to plan. Guess what? Get up and try again, keep doing it. It goes for everything. Just keep going. Not everything's going to be perfect, nothing is going to be perfect but we just keep getting up and we keep going further and further and further along. That's the only way we grow, that's the only way we learn and it was funny because I was walking around town and I love playing tourists, so I go up to top of the rock, I go to the top of the Empire State Building, and I loved the Empire State Building because, A) because of the art deco which I just adore and then B) because I love learning about how things come to be. Rockefeller Jr actually purchased the Empire State Building, the land that the Empire State Building was on from Columbia University. Just around that time just after he had committed to creating the Empire State Building the Great Depression happened. As he was building the Empire State Building he had to make a decision, was he going to go forward fully financing this on his own or was he going to have to give up his dream. Well rather than give up his dream he just kept going, and because of that we now have this monument to human perseverance and faith in New York City. I just thought that was an incredible story, I'm sure there's a lot more backstory to that and I'm definitely going to have to look into that because I do find it fascinating. The things that we can do when we really set our mind to it and we continue no matter what the obstacles are, no matter what our perceived obstacles are. Because this is a mental game right? The only way we can create and grow is to get past all of the mental crap that we've had pushed on us since we were little kids. When we were young we were told maybe we can't do all the things we want to do.

We were told that we needed to follow the rules, that we shouldn't hope for too much, or we should stay safe so that we could have that secure job, that secure income, and then we hold ourselves back. It's a mental game, it's getting through all of the things that tell us were not enough that we can't do it, that maybe those people who say we can't do it are right. That's the mental game we have to get through.

I have to say I work on it every single day, every single day I have those same thoughts. What if this isn't good enough? What if what I'm doing doesn't really make an impact? Those are normal thoughts, those are normal things to think and believe but do they serve you? Do they serve me? No, that's going to keep me from growing if I stay and that I never will get to where I want to go and you know what, maybe I won't, maybe I will never get to that point where I feel like I have hit my goal. But that's okay because the whole point of doing what we're doing day after day of growing, of trying is to become the person who is capable of having that outcome, that dream. It doesn't matter if I never hit a particular goal, what matters is the person I become on the way to getting that goal. What are the mental blocks I work through? What are the things I have to work on in myself so that I can get to that next level? That's what every single artist has had to do every single architect, every single person who's raising a family, or working a job is working through those obstacles and they're all mental. Those are all of our obstacles. They are all mental. That means they are not real. We are the ones who are creating our obstacles, we are the ones who are holding ourselves back. So that is the big takeaway this week is just keep going, no matter what you're doing, no matter what you might hear your inner voices tell you about not being good enough, you are good enough. Those voices in your head, those aren't real. You get to say what you think.

One of the things that has really helped me over the last several years, but I would say even more so in the last six months is staying with a consistent meditation practice.

I mean, I would have loved to have not resisted meditating because meditating has been something that has allowed me to see more of those negative voices in my head, so that I could reshape them. So I can tell them to go kick the bucket, it's helped me formulate plans that I never had before. Goals that I never had before and that I want to work towards getting. The only way I can reach those goals is by working through the crap that's in my head, the same crap that every single amazing artist in all of these museums has had to work through themselves. I hope this helped you in some small way this week, maybe gave you some inspiration, maybe gave you some insight, maybe give you some awareness into your head. I also want to offer to you some free meditations to kick start a flailing meditation practice which often has happened to me in the past where I would be inconsistent, I wouldn't take it seriously, I wouldn't have that commitment to myself, and I would have to get back into it. Or maybe you haven't started a meditation practice and you've been thinking about it and you think, you know what, now might be the right time. I've created five short and different meditations for you to try out to see if you like them and they will be in the show notes at That's I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, and oh one more thing I want to let you know about, I have been talking to you about October 1st and that is that day I am starting a 16-week program hopefully with you. I would love to hear from you so that I can talk to you one-on-one about this program.

Basically, it's helping you work through all that stuff, all that negative stuff in your brain. It also helps with time management because every single one of us has said at some point in their life, “I don't have enough time, I'm too busy to do that right now.” I want to work with you, I want to talk to you to see if you were right for this program because it's got to be right for both of us, we both have to be all in to do this. Contact me at I am going to post a link for a 30-minute free discovery call so that we can talk, all right? I hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to Soul Roadmap. If you had a moment I'd appreciate it if you'd subscribe rate and left an honest review on iTunes. I read every single review so let me know what you want to hear more or less of and I'll talk to you next week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *