What is greatness and what does it mean for you?

I was talking to several clients today and in each case, this question came up in one form or another. Each client is on a leadership journey, looking at who they are, where they are going and how they are going to get there.  The question of greatness is an important one because what it means to them will impact how they see themselves and how their teams relate to them.

I say this because I believe that leaders challenge the status quo.  They build a culture around them based on their values and purpose.  People are attracted and enrolled in their cause because of the “why” of the leader or his/her purpose.  Take a look at Ghandi or Martin Luther King, as examples.

So what exactly is greatness?  Greatness is the quality that radiates from the inside out.  It is who you are when you are honoring your values and living a life of purpose.  In other words, when you are stepping into your true Self. 

I was reading a blog by Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business Review around redefining greatness  and his last sentence summed it up for me:

“The true measure of greatness is our capacity to navigate between our opposites with agility and grace — to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never to stop trying to get better. “

What Schwartz says in his blog is that greatness is not about our strengths, our skills or our leadership competencies, it is about who we are in all of our dimensions. 

The challenge for many of us is that we may not know who we are.  We are so busy running and doing, taking one leadership course after another, that we don’t take the time to listen, question and find our purpose.  So my questions to you are: 

  • What are your top 5 values?
  • Why were you put on this earth?
  • What is your purpose in life?

By thinking about these questions, you will get closer to the meaning of greatness for you.  Start noticing the impact this has on your life and in the teams that you lead.


7 Responses to “What is greatness and what does it mean for you?”

  1. George Swan says:

    This morning, with a mental image of those hot air balloons in Albuquerque, I was inspired by some Genius to get up and write this, I thought you might like:
    Ode to Our Greatness
    Like hot air balloons filled with ballast, our Greatness strains the ties.
    We load our mind with hopes and fears, while our Greatness cries.
    Wearing colored glasses, we cannot see the Prize.
    Ego holds on to Ground, mistaking it for Life. Look up, our Greatness sighs.
    Caught within our tiny Box, holding on to Earth, yet Greatness tries to rise.
    Myths of shame and guilt weigh upon our soul, our Greatness to disguise.
    We cannot see beyond the tears of struggle, the Game of Life so Wise
    Then, a sound so pure, an insight sparks the thought: Release, they’re only lies.
    The scraps are good, and safe, the ego wants no part of Heaven in the skies
    Freedom lurks above, waiting for the day when Courage breaks the ties
    Letting go is all it takes, Let it fly, let it fly. See how Greatness flies.
    Beyond the clouds of our imagination, the Sun is always shining, the light that never dies.
    Yes, go ye mighty spirits, light the fires with your passion, and watch your Greatness rise.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your words of wisdom George. Greatness truly is letting go of your ego, seeing what is possible and letting it fly. The more we step into what is possible, the more we release those inner voices that tell us what we can and can’t do the more we release our authentic leader. By stepping into our power, we create the space to listen other people into their greatness as well. So by letting go of your ego, letting your greatness fly, so too are you letting others around you step into their power, their greatness and letting their magnificence fly as well.
      Then, imagine if we all create the space for us and others to be great, we can create possibilities for greatness in teams, companies, countries, events. What is possible from this place of greatness for everyone? What can we create together when we are no longer coming from a place of ego and instead coming from a place of possibility for others?
      Thank you for sharing your Ode to Greatness and Genius with the rest of us. George, you have caused leadership and greatness in others with this share.

      • Ruth maina says:

        Thanks you for that post.
        In 2010 I was in an overnight prayer session and the pastor prophesied that I have been marked for greatness.
        I did not understand what that meant and I went looking for business ventures which are truly great but 5 years down the line,I have nothing to show for it.
        Beginning of last year,I remembered that I had already received favor for greatness and had not realized.
        I let go and the business I was holding on to came tumbling down leaving me with a lot of debts.
        This year I told God that I desire to live my purpose and this has given me a lot of peace of mind .
        My desire is to see lives transformed as I fulfill God’s purposes.
        How i pray that we will be able to know and understand our calling to do that which we are called to do and avoid wasting time trying to achieve in this life yet all has already been provided for.

      • Ruth maina says:

        Thanks you for that post.
        In 2010 I was in an overnight prayer session and the pastor prophesied that I have been marked for greatness.
        I did not understand what that meant and I went looking for business ventures which are truly great but 5 years down the line,I have nothing to show for it.
        Beginning of last year,I remembered that I had already received favor for greatness and had not realized.
        I let go and the business I was holding on to came tumbling down leaving me with a lot of debts.
        This year I told God that I desire to live my purpose and this has given me a lot of peace of mind .
        My desire is to see lives transformed as I fulfill God’s purposes.
        How i pray that we will be able to know and understand our calling to do that which we are called to do and avoid wasting time trying to achieve in this life yet all has already been provided for.

  2. Romeo Bohloko says:

    That is true when u are marked for Greatness let god do the work and what you can just do is stay in his presence… For God will provide…

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  4. Pauline says:

    Greatness is not all about powers and accomplishments done, the true meaning is, It is sacrificing something or yourself for the sake of others.

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