Achieving Greatness in Your Business

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My favorite definition of “greatness” is this one:

When everything that came before you seems obsolete, and everything that comes after you bears your stamp.

That certainly applies to the Beatles. It applies to Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Bill Gates. (Yes, I know there are some people who don’t like Bill Gates. There are also some who don’t like Shakespeare, Beethoven, or, horror of horrors, the Beatles! That doesn’t, however, negate the facts.) But here’s the big question:

Does it, or will it, apply to you?

How can you run your business, or live your life, so that everything that came before you seems obsolete, and everything that comes after you bears your stamp? It’s a good question to think about, whether or not you ever actually achieve “greatness.”

When I was the producer of a sketch comedy TV show, I used to tell my writers to “aim high.” “That way,” I’d say, “even if you don’t hit your target, you’ll still be above average.” Okay, perhaps not the most original or inspiring message, but I still think the point is valid. If you aim high—if you aim for greatness—you may or may not hit the mark. But your work will almost certainly be of a higher level than if you had set your sights lower.

Take a look around. How many people, and how many businesses, do you see that seem to be aiming for “average”? And if you aim for “average,” and don’t hit your goal, where does that leave you? Well, lets’ just say that it makes your competitors very happy.

Aim high. Aim for greatness. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, Beethoven, or the Beatles. You don’t have to make the history books. But virtually every industry has their pioneer, their innovator, their “great” person about whom it can be said that everything that came before them seems obsolete, and everything that came after them bears their stamp. Your industry has undoubtedly seen great people, and it undoubtedly will see more.

Why not be one of them?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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