Fifty Shades of Great

Fifty Shades of Great dan skognes motivation blogger speaker trainer teacher coach consultantDo you believe you have the ability to be great?  Are you born with that ability? Is it genes, luck, or acquired skills that cause some people to achieve great things?  Well, it is complicated, and as the title alluded to, there are various shades of greatness which we may or may never experience.

First of all, let’s agree on one thing as an assumption.  We are born with the ability to do great things. You will see why I make this assumption as you read on. This of course assumes you have mental capabilities that are at least normal. Physical disabilities do not necessarily preclude you from achieving greatness. The Special Olympics is a living tribute to those who have not let their disability define who they are or what they can do. So, assuming that we are born with the ability to do great things, why is it some do and some don’t?

Well, let’s agree on point number two. What you think is great is not necessarily what I think is great. We all have our opinions of what constitutes greatness. If you are a gifted athlete, it may be no big deal to consistently score 30 plus points in a game like Michael Jordan, but this is where it gets tricky. There are many many gifted athletes, and yet how many Michael Jordans are there? Not many rise to that caliber, but it does not mean that the other gifted athletes are not great…just not AS great.

I was coaching an executive that aspired to perfection in all he did. It is good to aspire to great things…but perfection?  I hated to burst his bubble, but none of us are perfect. We can aspire to continuously improve. That is a good thing. But there are many shades of great that we can learn to value in ourselves and in others.

When looking at great things or great people, consider this:

  • All great things were birthed from the desire to achieve. I was salesman of the year for a major medical company one year, and you know what they did to me the next year? They raised my quota again! I exceeded the quota the next year as well. The moral is, just because you feel you have made it, realize that there is always another level to reach.  We never “arrive” this side of Heaven.
  • Celebrate each victory that you have achieved. Whether it is top salesman, number one trainer, best coach, outstanding speaker, or whatever, take that victory and savor it. Just don’t settle in it. Some people have to relive the victories of yesteryear because they don’t continue the climb, so that is all they have left is memories. That is sad, don’t you think?
  • Great people are still people.  We all have flaws, weaknesses, and things we wish we could change. Great people seem to have the ability to capitalize on their abilities and strengths to the point that we don’t focus on the frailties. Everyone loves a winner (unless you were betting against them).
  • We have a tendency to underestimate the power of a positive attitude in attaining great things. There is a proverb that says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” That would be wise to remember if you aspire to achieve the extraordinary things in life. Change your attitude if you want to affect your altitude.
  • No great thing was ever accomplished in the comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone and face your fears head on. Otherwise, you will live in the land of regret.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Be honest. Do you see greatness?  Do you see a beautiful unique creation of God, or do you focus on that new wrinkle that just popped up out of nowhere, or that new gray hair? I believe that God, because He is great, and we are made in His image, has instilled greatness in us.  It is not for our glory. It is not for our bragging rights. That is where most of us get sidetracked. It is for His glory and His purpose. We are most alive (in my humble opinion) when we have totally submitted our will to His. In the process of dying to self, we can become that which God intended for us to be all along…His great great great great children.


Dan Skognes

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