How the Great Ones Got Great

What does it take to become great in your field? Being born with advantages is nice, but not necessary. Tony Robbins says, "More than anything else, I believe it's our decisions, not the conditions of our lives that determine our destiny." Most of us can give lots of excuses as to why we cannot achieve our true goals. Most of these excuses center on not having certain resources or advantages. We all know of people who had tremendous opportunity and resources to do whatever they wanted in life and chose not to take advantage of it. We also know of people who had very little opportunity and resources yet ended up achieving great things.

It is true that some people do have unfair advantages; be they genetic, educational, environmental, monetary, or familial. But in Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams, Steven Scott insists that people who achieve "impossible dreams" are generally not very different in resources from the average person:

They don't have higher IQs;

They have not been better educated;

They do not have better backgrounds than you do.

They simply learned and utilized some specific techniques that enabled them to ‘dream big' and then to achieve those dreams.

When you find yourself thinking about how others were blessed with advantages and you were not, remind yourself about the many people who, by making decisions about their lives and pursuing their goals, overcame the odds and achieved extraordinary success that far exceeded their conditions.

Most people have gone as far as they want to go and they are satisfied with living a small life. That's not you!! Make up your mind to break loose and live the life you were meant to live, fueled by your passion, skills and determination. Continue to hold the vision of what you want for your life and live from your dream. Break the shackles of fear, procrastination and despair. Tap into your faith, relentless action and inspiration to create your greatest life. Your life matters in the greater scheme of things. You were put here to make a difference and create something original. Design a legacy worthy of your greatest self. Stay on the path. You have something special.

You have GREATNESS within you!!

---Les Brown

Sprint to the Finish Line with Coaches, Mentors and Role Models

Successful people discover a way of drawing from the environment what they need. They find supporters who can help them overcome obstacles and can serve as coaches and cheerleaders. A good coach will provide a sense of structure in a person's life, thereby enabling them to take risks and make important changes. Forming a supportive partnership with a good coach provides reinforcement for your ideas and helps to keep you moving forward in the pursuit of your goals.

“Performance coaches” are experts in your field, who assist you with improving your physical skills. “Life coaches” who may know nothing about your field, can assist you with improving your mental performance. Life coaches can also be called “professional coaches,” “personal coaches,” “empowerment coaches,” etc. Most top performers now have both types of coaches that they rely on. A coach’s specialized training can provide structure and additional support, give you guidance and assess your progress along the way.

One of a coach’s most important functions is to make you accountable for your progress. As you have learned in the chapter on goal setting, you will have mini-steps or sub-goals to accomplish on your way to your larger goal. Much like your teachers in school who gave you deadlines for turning in your homework, the coach should also give you time lines for achieving your sub-goals. This accountability can often be an important motivator in itself. Accountability can be provided by a mentor, spouse, employer, etc., but in a case where a support system is lacking, a coach may provide the necessary tools to keep your momentum going.

Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.

---Joel Osteen

Another great strategy is to research people who have succeeded at goals similar to your own. Read biographies, watch movies, listen to audiobooks, etc. Take notes on obstacles that they successfully overcame and on their strategies for achieving their goals. There are countless biographies and stories on famous and not so famous people who have achieved great things with very little. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.”

A famous line from a poem states, “I grew taller today from walking through the trees.” In the same way, we can become like our role models just by learning about them, watching them, studying them, and listening to them. We can put ourselves in their shoes, so to speak, and try out what it would be like to walk in them. This also helps us to “de-pedestalize” them. We often put certain people up on a pedestal, thinking they are way above us, beyond our reach, super human – in another world. The reality is, they are just human beings like us.

Hearing the personal histories of people who overcame hardship and proved wrong those who had given up on them can be an inspiring experience for many. The reason this strategy works so well is that people learn from imitation. It is helpful to have a model of a person (or several people) with whom one can identify -- someone who has had similar struggles and has overcome them. One is thus led to think, if so-and-so could do it, why can't I? The stories have the effect of making one identify with a community of survivors, of confident people who believed in themselves and achieved success because of their determination.

When you study your role models and mentors ask yourself, “What kind of person would he/she have to be in order to do what he/she is doing?” Write down those attributes and ask yourself if you could be that kind of person. If you feel you could, try stepping into their shoes and acting “as if.”

Spock had a huge effect on me.

Playing the character so often actually made me more rational and logical.

---Leonard Nemoy