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Do you want to be known by those who come in contact with you as someone who has a great impact on the world at large? You can be – greatness is a choice: and you can make a key decision to be great right now.

Before you read on watch this two and a half minute video.

Greatness Knows No Borders.

The desire for greatness is universal.  I play this video all over the world and it has a completely predictable effect on all people – regardless of cultural or language barriers: it moves them. It ALWAYS stills the room and audiences are ALWAYS quietly thoughtful after the video – but it’s a strangely tense calm.

Whilst the video calms the audience it also challenges and unsettles them. You can tell that all of them at that point, to a woman or man, want to be great.  But despite the apparent clarity of the video’s message many seem conflicted and uncertain.

If that’s your reaction then let me toss in my two cents in on what I have observed drives greatness, and what I think anyone wanting to be great needs to do before doing anything else.

It is abundantly obvious when you observe those we regard as great: greatness is not a question of DNA or a personality trait, it’s not something you either have or do not have. Great people are not born great.

To paraphrase Stephen Covey in the ‘8th Habit’ “great people become great by making choices – by deciding to do the things that great people do”. And the most important of those choices is the first one: they decide to live on purpose – to have goals.  They refuse to be like a leaf taken through an aimless life by the currents in life’s endless stream.  They instead opt to consciously decide what they want from life and then to pursue it ruthlessly, and that starts with goals.

Greatness starts with the clarity of purpose that comes from having utterly clear goals for every aspect of your personal, business and spiritual lives – from having a destination you’ll strive to reach daily. Clear goals provide light in the dark times, optimism in the most toxic of situations, and a sense of purpose and self-worth that can be achieved no other way.

Of course, while it’s the first choice of the great it’s not one they make only once. Life has a way of screwing with the best laid plans of even the greatest of people – and the truly great decide over and over again that they will live life ‘on purpose’ – they continually redefine their goals.

Meaningful Goals

I’m no expert on goal-setting, but I don’t think it matters a great deal what way you go about clarifying your goals – as long as you do so now, and on an ongoing basis. There are dozens of useful books that address the topic (including the one Bud Haney, Jim Sirbasku and I wrote recently – ‘Leadership Charisma’).  For those looking for a simple goal development ebook here’s ‘Goals Magic’, created by Australian coach, Rod Moore.

Bottom line: no goals, no greatness. If you don’t have a clear set of goals to inform where you wish to go, and inform what you’re doing day to day to get there, then your life is at best following someone else’s plan. At worst, it’s meandering aimlessly towards a point in the future when you’ll look back and regret your lost time.

Want to take the first step to greatness?

Clarify your goals.

The man who conceived this video, Al Rainaldi, has a way of expressing this with very direct language – he says that to avoid mediocrity, to aspire to greatness, you must use clear goals to help avoid being a ‘wandering generality’ and instead focus upon being a ‘meaningful specific’.

I suggest you take another two and a half minutes to view the video again and, if you aspire to greatness, then consider what to do next.

Do you know someone you’d regard as great?

What makes them so – and what can we learn from them?  Use the Comments feature below to share your experiences