In 2020, a client of mine inspired the concept of the Armor of Excellence, a way of using excellence as means of protection or safety. As tough and protective as armor may seem, it can also be extremely heavy and restrictive, preventing us from doing all that we might want to do and keeping us rigidly meeting someone else’s standards. 

In this episode, I cover:

  • How the concept of this armor came to be
  • Where and who this armor may come up 
  • Excellence and its proximity to whiteness and masculinity
  • Armor and its weight in entrepreneurship
  • Appreciating what the armor gave you and knowing when to put it down

Identifying the armor is on in the first place

As heavy as your armor may be, there’s a chance you don’t even realize it’s on in the first place. For me, my armor has been worn for years, growing up in a household where excellence, beauty, and professionalism were always emphasized. For many of us, society has shown us over and over that there are consequences to not being excellent. I want to challenge you to look at the experiences in which you were held back by your need to adhere to such high standards and what you could learn if you didn’t have the armor on.

“It’s this armor that we have a tendency to not just act and be in proximity to whiteness and in proximity to masculinity, but also without any trace of flaw.”

Unpacking your own armor 

Once you know the armor is there, it’s time to figure out how to take it off. I want you to remember the following things as you work to unpack your armor: 1. This doesn’t have to be a huge major thing in your business journey. 2. You have to ask yourself what you’re really afraid of in order to know why your armor is there. 3. Vulnerability is a practice, and this practice should be done in places that feel safe. 4. Notice how your armor has been an advantage in the past, be thankful for it, and notice how it is a hindrance now. 

“This is really detrimental to entrepreneurship because what is required in entrepreneurship is learning by doing and learning by failing.”

Putting the armor down 

Your armor may have given you a lot early on in your career, such as incredible communication skills and amazing professional presentation, but it’s important to remember that taking the armor off does not change your skillset and does not reduce your abilities in the slightest. Instead, knowing when to take the armor off and put it down can empower you to succeed without the pressure of excellence. You can learn, grow, and make decisions without the pressures of society weighing down on your every move. 

“By opting out of that and refusing to wear the armor of excellence, that’s winning without having to go to battle at all.”

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