Those of us with the ambition and drive to leave something behind when we’re gone are in the universal search for that elusive accomplishment of greatness. Whatever being great means to you, it has a common enemy. Nope, it’s not failure. Failure is a bedfellow of greatness. The real enemy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: good. Good stands in greatness’s path, whispering in your ear that you’ve reached your final destination. Don’t let good sing its siren song if what you are chasing is great.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with good if that’s what you’re aiming for. It’s not an enemy in and of itself; it becomes a trap of complacency for those on their way to greatness. After working, whether it’s for months, years, or your whole life, the first major success can be a double-edged sword. The euphoric sense of accomplishment can stop us in our tracks with the illusion that this is good enough. We can rest now and know that we’ve done something.
The problem of course is that there will be a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, a tiny voice in your head that haunts you with “what if”. What if you kept going? What if you ignored limits? What if you didn’t let the naysayers get to you? What could you have done?
The bigger our goals, the broader our vision, the scarier it gets to chase those dreams. So few people actually achieve greatness that it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t belong in that elite of a group. Those few people must have something we don’t, something we can’t identify and can’t obtain. The truth is, they do have something others don’t, but it’s not a mysterious or even elusive quality. It’s that the great ones make a decision to not stop when they’ve done something good. They have the tenacity to keep going and not let the repeated rejections, the endless obstacles, the exhausting journey become the final destination. Believing in the vision, the dream or goal they’ve worked toward, the one nobody else can see, is what puts these folks in the exclusive company of greatness. Being great is about deciding to do it and following through.
So don’t let your success, your ability to hang-in there and keep pace, be the thing that holds you back when you have bigger plans. The obstacles in your path need creative solutions, support for what you can’t do alone, and the resolve to see it through.
Go, be great.