How to achieve greatness

Photo credit: Unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

You have the potential for greatness. 

If you are optimising all your talents and sharing them with the world, if you are contributing to someone or something bigger than yourself, if you are finding your own unique way to change the world for the better, if you are doing the best you can, being the best you can be, then you are on your way to greatness.

And if you are not quite there, here are 9 ways to help you on your way:

1. Connect with your highest vision

Somewhere between your first and last breath you should try to do something remarkable with your life. And the only way to do that is to create an epic vision for your life. When you set a clear and compelling vision, you construct a framework for how you want the future to look. Be wildly ambitious, unreasonable and limitless when creating your vision. Let your vision inspire, move and motivate you to live with intention. Let it be bigger than you. At the end of each day ask yourself, "How did my choices support my vision today?" 

2. Live what you represent

Your values represent what you stand for and underpin everything you do. When you clarify your deepest values and align your action to those values, you start becoming the person you think and say you are. As Mister Rogers once said, "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are." Think of your values as a unique internal GPS system. Ask yourself, "How well did my decisions and behaviour align with my core values today?". 

3. Play to your strengths

Don't fall into the trap of thinking you can do everything well. Know your area of genius, leverage your strengths, identify where you need to improve, delegate and outsource the rest. Look at the bigger picture, be clear on what you are trying to achieve and create a support team around you. Always aim to deliver a polished and professional result. If you's still not sure what your talents are, or want to better understand how to maximise them, give the Reflected Best Self (RBS) exercise a go. It's a great tool designed to help develop your sense of “personal best” in order to increase future potential. 

4. Strive for progress, not perfection

Perfection has a knack for breeding procrastination and leaving you productively paralysed. Focus on doing the best work you can today. That might mean making that one call, or completing that one task, or outlining a project, or investing 30 minutes on something important, or writing 250 crappy words so you can get to the next 250 better words. Whatever your best work means to you today, do it. Strive to do one thing every day that moves you closer to your end goal. Ask yourself, "What small steps can I take to get closer to my vision?".

5. Choose the company you keep

Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Like it or not, when it comes to your relationships, you are significantly influenced by those closest to you. How often do you audit your circle of influence? Ask yourself, "Am I happy with the friends I have?", "Are they there for me when I need them?", "Do they challenge and inspire me to do better, be better?". Join forces with individuals and groups who share your passions, goals and enthusiasm and be a force. 

6. Practice (and practice and practice)

There is no secret formula, no magic bullet, no shortcut to personal excellence, to mastery and greatness and there is no substitute for practice. You've got to adopt a wide focus, be disciplined and create rituals that will create results. Do something everyday no matter how big or small, that moves you closer to your best work and self. So the next time you feel frustrated, discouraged, or find yourself on the brink of giving up, watch this short video (it's frikken awesome) narrated by Ira Glass of This American Life, where he talks about the gap between our ambitions and our actual work when we're all starting out.

7. Stay agile

Greatness requires you to be light on your feet, think quickly and improvise because things won't always go to plan. Distractions, disappointments, stuff ups and f*ck ups will happen. It's only a matter of time. Some will force you to change what you're doing and others will threaten to change the trajectory of your course altogether. Tony Robbins says it well, 'Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach." The next time you hit a roadblock or a wall, ask yourself, "What else could I do? What else? Anything else? What next?", or "Who do I know who has encountered a similar situation?", or "What are 10 different options?", or "If anything was possible what would I do?".

8. Be generous

There are more than enough opportunities to go round. Support whomever you can any way and any time you can. Be it with your attention, time, money, skills, wisdom or experience. Use your consumer dollar wisely. Did you know every time you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, they give away a pair of shoes to a child in need? Use your words deliberately. Write a letter and change someone's day, or possibly life. Because the world needs more love letters. Give with an open heart and mind, as much as you can, as often as you can.

9. Change the world

Statistically speaking, the odds of you being here are about 1 in 400 trillion, which makes you a living miracle. You have something to offer the world and by doing so leave it in better condition than you found it, which means you have a small window of opportunity to figure out what that is and then go do it. Take a cue from Wilfred Peterson and "Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than you found it."

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