We’ve all heard that greatness is a mindset. Conventional wisdom seems to be that if we believe it, we can achieve it. And that is partially - but not totally - true.
Greatness is not a mindset, or a system of beliefs or the physical manifestation of your hopes and dreams. No, greatness is a habit. Or, more specifically, a series of habits built on the backs of one another.
Whether you are a leader in your organization or strive to be, there are a few ways that you can get yourself into a habit of pursuing greatness. If you follow them, your team will take notice.
Set Your Goals
Write down 5 reasons you want to be great. Be honest with yourself - this isn’t for anyone else. Read these 5 reasons every single day for 30 days. The first part of designing a system for creating the habits that lead to greatness is the recognition of your desire to succeed. Next, list your goals and how you intend to accomplish them. Breaking down your goals into smaller accomplishable pieces ensures that you will keep yourself on track.
This may sound obvious, but greatness does not quit when it meets its goal. When you hit your first target, make that the jumping off point for your next one. This will show your team that you mean business. Greatness can be a habit, but you have to want it.
Make that Improvement
In every aspect of your life, be it work or home - managing relationships is one of, if not THE most important part. No relationship, business or personal, has ever been completely smooth sailing. If and when you hit a rough patch, ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to make it run smoothly. Chances are, you’ll find some room for improvement within yourself. Make that improvement. Everyone appreciates an effort, and you’ll find that the farther you go, the more likely it is that your partners will be willing to fill in the gaps. Your greatness demands good partnerships - be a good partner.
Take a Shortcut
Understand that you have limitations even if you can’t immediately see them (that’s why they’re limitations) and seek experience to get better. Ask your team what they see and how you can improve. Seek mentors. Find those who are doing what you want to do and ask them how. Experience comes with time. You can put your nose down and get 15 years of experience by working for 15 years, or you can find someone with 15 years of experience and ask them to tell you what they know. Sometimes taking shortcuts is cheating. This is not one of those times.
Remember when you were on the high school basketball team and you spent every afternoon from 3:30 to 7pm running wind sprints and practicing your free throws? Remember when the ball came to you, and you didn’t hesitate because you knew exactly what to do? Why would you not do that with your career? Take some time out every week to go over your plan, and internalize your way of achieving it. Keep your skills sharp and you won’t miss the opportunity to nail that game-winning three-pointer.
You can’t be great if you’re burned out. I. Think about it - if you were on a road trip and your gas gauge was pegged to E, you wouldn’t hesitate to stop and get gas. So, take some time to fill your tank. Work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break every hour. Stand up and move around. You don’t have to work from a treadmill - just move around a little bit. Take 48 hours at least once a month to put your phone away and unplug completely. Read more - at least one book a month. Remember, it’s all about habit-forming.
The thing about greatness is that it’s completely up to you - if you’re willing to work for it. It’s built brick-by-brick.
Grab a brick and start building.