“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

Og Mandino


One fact in life is that we’re wired for achievement. Our conditioning leads us to strive for the highest peaks in life. You can walk into any meeting, at any business, and ask participants if they desire to be the top performer on the team. What will you hear? Over 90% would answer with a resounding “yes.”

A problem many have reaching the ever-elusive summit is they lack key characteristics and behaviors required for greatness. Despite there being a plethora of these to describe those who achieve great heights, we’ll cover four in specific. Perhaps if you incorporate today, you’ll fast track your way to the top.

Obsession

Steve Jobs was obsessed with Apple, Michael Jordan with basketball and Homer Simpson with donuts. Each achieved greatness in their own way. Homer Simpson? Yes, a staple character in the longest running animated show in history. Okay, it’s a lighthearted stretch, but you get the point.

Obsession itself isn’t bad, despite our conditioning leading us to believe otherwise. It becomes destructive only when aimed in the wrong direction – an unhealthy one. Furthermore, many people equate obsession with being excessive, however, they are separate despite their closeness. When you properly harness the power of obsession, it becomes a great vehicle for high achievement.

Obsessed with Greatness

For yourself, what area in your life are you seeking greatness? And I mean true greatness. What’s something you want the world to take notice? Now with this in mind, are you obsessed with it? Does it occupy your thoughts night and day? Are you waking with it top of mind and tucking it gently under your pillow at night? If not, you should.

To achieve greatness, I urge you to submerge yourself and develop a ‘healthy’ obsession. Keep it at the forefront so you’re constantly working and evolving.

Now in doing so, you’ll need some preparation for naysayers. Not only will you hear from usual suspects in your circle of influence, but you’ll likely get some newbies in the mix. And guess what, that’s okay. Eventually, when you’re at the summit looking down on your sea of accomplishments, anyone who attempted to hold you back will fade quickly into the night.

Harness the power of obsession to fuel your every move. Let it propel you forward, because at the end of the day you have reasons or results, and results are what matter most.

Thick Skin

You’ve heard the expression “crabs in a bucket” before, I’m sure. Quite literally, as crabs attempt to climb to freedom, their counterparts pull them down. The expression illustrates a fundamental flaw in human behavior. It’s precisely what happens with people. When others begin rising, plenty of “crabs” pinch at them in hopes of pulling them back down to their reality.

It’s essential you develop a thick layer of skin to protect against the ‘crabs.’ It becomes your shield against envy, jealousy and spite hurled your way. All in hopes of taking you down a notch.

So how do you develop this thick layer of skin?

I suggest keeping something in mind. As you succeed, you’ll cross people who will feel inferior to your accomplishments. And such inferiority is tough to swallow. So what happens? They begin to act irrationally. Almost always spawned from their insecurity. With this in mind, you get peace from understanding ‘why.’ You take it impersonally. You’ll begin to realize it’s simply a reflection of their inability to manage their emotional state.

Now despite developing a thick layer, there’s no guarantee you’ll be pain-free. It’s going to stings at times, but you’ll have less downtime and more mental clarity to keep pushing forward.

Personal Responsibility

Perhaps you see what I do in today’s day and age; blaming has taken precedence over personal responsibility. Truly, it sickens me, and should sicken you as well.

Those who become role models, who have books and movies written about them, all display extraordinary amounts of personal responsibility. In some instances, great leaders have proclaimed personal responsibility for actions where their influence was negligible. As they said, “Great leaders take the blame and pass the credit.”

Taking personal responsibility, whether acting solo or in tandem, separates you from the crowd. Great admiration is paid your way. You encompass character excellence quite noticeable. And guess what? It feels great as well, I promise.

Personal Responsibility SW Article

There are several positives from acting personally responsible, but we’ll zero in on a single benefit. The main one is that you mitigate downtime and reduce untimely bottlenecks during the learning or growth process.

Let me give you an example. Say you’re working on a team and something goes haywire. There’s route one; everyone pushes blame toward one another and each defends and deflects. Time, energy and resources become squandered. Or there’s route two; you stand up, take responsibility, and everyone pushes forward. Just like that, the train keeps moving.

If swallowing the pill is hard, I get it. Who wants to be “blamed” for a mess they didn’t create? I’ll tell you who. It’s the person comfortable in their skin, with confidence in their abilities and their eye on the prize – that’s who.

Just so you know, I rarely suggest things I haven’t experienced personally. In my career, I’ve done this 1000 times over. Each time, what transpires is extremely predictable. Everyone continues pressing forward. And when results are favorable in the end, it’s all that counts. So give it a shot, even just once – I dare you!

Limiting Beliefs

It baffles me our ancestors believed the earth was flat. Furthermore, I’m equally perplexed, and awestruck, that people stood before their peers and proclaimed otherwise. Aristotle was who provided empirical evidence for the spherical shape. Now he wasn’t the first to theorize the belief, but he encountered limiting beliefs of the highest order along the way. And prevailed quite spectacularly.

The question for you is if you’re able to push past limiting beliefs? Can you look beyond what’s widely accepted and see alternate realities?

Believing in the impossible, improbable and incomprehensible can lead to greatness. Such power thinking leads to breakthroughs that change the world.

In my life, it took me 20 years before realizing I was stunted emotionally from a single belief. A belief holding me back in a major way. Where did it come from? It spawned from a single interaction with someone held in high regard. It’s amazing a single instance can implant itself and shape nearly a lifetime of beliefs.

So if you’re striving for greatness, you must shatter limiting beliefs. I’m not suggesting it’s an easy process, but I assure you it’s worth it one thousand times over. Simply dig deep, find your mental barriers and obliterate them quickly. Then hold your newfound beliefs with so much conviction you bring them into existence.

Keep in mind, you’ll be among a sea of people with opposing beliefs who will be vocal about their opinions. Remember what we said about the ‘crabs in a bucket?’ Let it go in one ear and out the other. Forge ahead, you can do it.

 

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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