My pastor told a story at church about being on top of a ski mountain in Colorado when his 5 year old daughter decided she was done skiing for the day. They were with a whole group of people, and he didn’t want anyone else to be disappointed, so he told them all to go enjoy their day of skiing and he would take her down. They missed the gondola ride, so he and his daughter had to ski back to their hotel. If you ask him, he will admit to also missing the turn off for the greens (the easiest run). After yet another wrong turn - he was looking down the better part of a black diamond run - to make it an even better story, it had moguls (strategically placed little bumps) all the way down. Apologizing to his daughter, they both agreed they would take it slowly and make their way down together. Remember, she was five! This was going to get hairy, but they set off on their way. He started by going a little way down and then turning around and coaching his daughter to join him. After successfully making it about half way down his daughter stopped him and said “Daddy, can I go first for the rest of the way?” He said yes, and she continued to maneuver the two of them all the way down that very difficult black run.
I love that story because when it comes right down to it his daughter had a choice. She could have whined and cried the whole way down but she chose to push herself and not only make it down that hill but eventually turn from being the follower to the leader. Now that is pushing yourself to become great.
That story got me thinking about great people in history. Why were they so different and what set them apart? What makes them great? How did they end up in the history books. Just like that little girl on the ski slopes, I believe they each pushed themselves toward greatness when they could have given up and taken the easy way down the mountain.
Here is the thing, information can be taught - regardless of industry, age, gender or pay, all great employees share common qualities. People, teams or organizations willing to do these five things listed below is what separates the good from the great:
He is quoted as saying "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. The first way to push yourself to greatness is to not allow failure to stop you on your journey. Even if it seems like what you are doing is not going to work, use what you know to make adjustments and get back on the road to being great.
focus in his book Outliers, is that anyone who does something for 10,000 hours will be an expert at it. Expert = great right? Being a continual learner is an attribute of all of the greats.
med ball slams, but there is nothing restful about it. It actually makes me want to throw up a little. She uses it as a cardio boost while giving my muscles a rest from repetitive motion. I think of it as an impatience break. Often times my muscles will start to get weak from all of the push ups or tri-dips she has me do. They start to get exhausted and it makes me impatient to not be able to do more. Stopping and doing med ball slams resets my muscle expectation so I can go on after that and continue with the set she has created for me. On your way to greatness, you will get tired, doubt and impatience will creep in - slam that to the ground! Great people are patient people. They understand that greatness comes through hard work, perseverance and patience.
because on the other side of fear is greatness.
You can be great. In everything you want to be great in. But it takes hard work. You have to not let failure drag you down along the way. You have to stay educated and engaged in the learning process. Stay patient, toss fear out the window. Believe that what you are reaching for will be yours.
It is what separates the good from the great each and every time.
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