Greatness: (n) the essence of being extraordinary

Greatness: (n) the essence of being extraordinary

For those of you who’ve been following me for a while, you know how important it is to follow your gifts. (Your unique gifts are the sum total of your talents, skills, abilities, physical attributes, experiences, likes, dislikes, quirks, and what other people call “flaws”.) This whole package is unique to you and is your unique contribution to the world.

Some people give their gifts as an old beat up, banged up, dirty box – the kind that got wet in shipping. If you try to give your gifts when they’re like this, they fall apart in the recipient’s hands. And that’s what happens when you don’t pursue greatness – your gifts become less valued because YOU don’t value them enough to pursue your own greatness.

Greatness comes in HOW you choose to give your gifts. If you’re always lackadaisically tripping through life waiting for someone else to notice and appreciate your gifts, you’re not pursing greatness. When you’re failing to care for yourself and choosing to accept  “fine” as an appropriate level of joy or fulfillment, this is NOT Greatness.

When you pursue greatness, you give your gift as a beautifully wrapped package that is uniquely designed to do something in the world. Greatness comes from deliberately choosing to recognize, magnify, and give your gifts at the highest level in order to make your unique contribution. That’s what I see for each of you and the work you need to do in the world – to be great, and to tap into the essence of being extraordinary.

You may be asking yourself, “Why does greatness matter?”oct pic

Great question! Most of us have been brought up to believe that proclaiming ourselves to be great is arrogant or conceited, and that even wanting to be great falls into that category as well. It’s the idea that you’re “too big for your britches.”

Some people view striving for greatness as being selfish and, therefore, they don’t do it. They think that striving for greatness is that thing you do when you’ve taken care of everything else in the world. If there’s anything left over: time, energy, money, THEN you can put those towards yourself and towards your own pursuit of being great.

Guess what: That mentality serves no one.

Pursuing greatness matters more for those in government service than for anybody else in the world. Why? Because we COULD have worked anywhere; we could have worked for any corporation and at any other type of job.

But we chose to come into government service, at some level, and we chose to serve.

And that’s exactly why it’s so important to pursue greatness. When pursing greatness for yourself, you can then pursue greatness in and for your organization. 

I was recently discussing this topic of ‘personal greatness to serve the larger whole’ with a client. She told me, “Martha! The LAST thing I need is another mission!”

Pursuing greatness isn’t another mission! Pursuing greatness is something that you must do – in order to give your highest level of service. When you, as an individual inside any organization are not living in alignment with your personal Pillars, and aren’t giving your truest and highest gifts, you’re not just harming yourself.

You are also weakening the entire organization.

When you aren’t taking the time to pursue your own personal greatness you’re preventing yourself from giving all your gifts. You’ve cut off parts of yourself as not mattering, something that you can do later, and denying your gifts as unique contributions to the world. Contributions that only you can make!

It’s like this.  When you drag yourself into a job you hate, ignore your health, or refuse to give yourself permission for a family vacation out of a sense of obligation that you “should” be doing something else, you are NOT pursuing greatness. It’s impossible to give a beautiful gift at work if the box is getting rained on as you drive into work every morning. You’ve got to figure out what greatness is to you – and then embody it every day and in every area of your life.

Pursing greatness means taking care of yourself in all ways: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It means spending time with people you love and spending time doing things that bring you joy. This means you’re able to give your gifts in a beautiful box – a fulfilled, happy you!

The amount of joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction you experience in life as you go through your day, both at work and at home, is a measure of how much you are pursuing your greatness. When you realize that the level to which you experience that greatness, is an indicator of the alignment between you and your gifts, you will realize that you not only DESERVE to have a job that makes your heart sing, you have a RESPONSIBILITY to.

 What are you doing, right now, in pursuit of your own greatness? If your answer is, “Nothing,” then what is getting in the way? Let me hear from you. Leave a comment below.


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