THE one thing that most people have in common is the desire to become successful. However, not all people achieve this because they forget one essential component — a strategy for becoming successful.

All successful people would agree that a vision of the future is vital. Personal excellence is part of this plan.

The word “excellence” is defined as the quality of excelling, possessing good qualities in high degree. It is about developing a winning mindset that says, “I want to be great at what I do. I want my work and my personal life to be successful.”

Personal excellence in the workplace can be developed by using some essential tools and techniques, and by creating a personal strategy for success. Here are six key steps to put you on the path to workplace excellence.

1. DEFINE YOUR GOAL

Before any action can be taken, you must identify why you want to excel at work. You must determine the end result you wish to achieve.

Are you looking for recognition? Is your goal to move up the corporate ladder? Are you looking for a pay increase? Or perhaps you want a sense of accomplishment from taking on greater challenges?

Once you have established your goals, it will be easier for you to determine the action steps required to get you on the road to achieving them.

2. PROJECT THE RIGHT IMAGE

You might be the best at what you do in the office or have the fastest typing speed or be the most tech-savvy, but if your image is not great, you are not likely to get ahead.

Do you arrive at work looking like you just got out of bed, with uncombed hair and wrinkled clothes? Are you dressed like a professional, or like you just came from a nightclub?

Do your mannerisms and posture reflect a person of intelligence and confidence, or do you slouch or lean on the furniture all the time?

Your physical actions and appearance are visual clues to your level of excellence. Ask yourself: “What am I projecting?”

3. STAY HEALTHY

It is important to take care of your personal wellbeing. That means going to bed at a reasonable hour to ensure that you are well rested and able to handle your daily tasks and eating a proper diet so that you also have the mental capacity to do your job. A clear mind and a rested body mean you are able to function with ease.

4. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

Recognising your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to your success. Most people think they should gain knowledge in the areas where they are weak, but actually the opposite is true. Play to your strengths by taking on projects in areas where you are strongest, and, if possible, delegate tasks where you lack the knowledge or skills.

5. SET SMART GOALS

We have all heard about the importance of “smart” goals, that is, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed.

Take 15 minutes to write out three to five goals that will bring you closer to excellence in the workplace. They should be straightforward, action-based, realistic and achievable. Decide on a completion date and the action steps required to get you there. Identify any obstacles and what you need to do to overcome them.

6. CELEBRATE SMALL WINS

Some of your goals will take time to achieve, so it is important that you reward yourself along the way. Celebrate the small wins as and when you complete tasks that get you closer to reaching your goal. Treat yourself to a new magazine, a massage or a meal out. This will provide the instant gratification that you crave while on the road to achieving your ultimate goal of workplace excellence.