Culture of Greatness Begins Within You

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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86,400 seconds.
700,000 hours.
28,000 days.

That is the quantity of your life, assuming a typical life span of 76 years.

What is the quality of your life?

I had the privilege of attending an all-day Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) learning event with Warren Rustand, a lifelong entrepreneur and former NBA player. Rustand is currently Managing Director of SC Capital Partners, an investment banking group offering corporate advisory services focusing on the microcap market. He was previously the CEO of Summit Capital, a firm specializing in small to midsize company development. He has served as Chairman/CEO of 17 companies, and was the Appointments Secretary and Cabinet Secretary to President Ford. In addition, he is the father of 7 children and 16 grandchildren who choose to live in close proximity to him, and has been married (to the same woman) for almost 50 years.

Clearly, Rustand has discovered the secrets to living a life of greatness.

The seminar focused on “Taking your Life to the Next Level.”  How do we take our lives to the next level? How do we make the conscious choice to live a life of greatness? Are some of us pre-destined for greatness, while others are pre-destined for a life of struggle?

According to Rustand, the potential for a life of greatness lies within each of us, but we must be committed to five specific principles. Before I get to those, let’s talk about the concept of greatness.

Greatness is  a CHOICE. It is not a function of circumstance. It is a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

To perform at a level of greatness, we need to commit to a higher level of energy, time, and effort than most. To quote Gandhi, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.”

We all have the power to lead our business, our family, and ourselves in greatness. To accomplish this, we have to plan.

If you dream, you have to plan. If you believe, you have to act.

Complacency and acceptance of the status quo is the death of greatness. Think about all of the great people that have crossed your path, either personally or indirectly. Think of those that inspire you on a personal level, as well as those that have changed the world. These are the people that are always trying to improve. These are the people committed to greatness. It is their commitment to greatness, and their decision to never settle for mediocrity that makes them so.  

In my last blog, I discussed how to tap into your power of possibility. The same premise applies to the possibility of greatness.

Embrace the possibility of your personal greatness… never underestimate your power to change your life.

Are you sold on the concept of personal greatness? Following are the five principles of personal greatness.

1: Commit to Personal Discipline.
We must put our mind in the position to compete with everyone else. When you correct your mind, everything else falls into place.

All that we are is the totality of what we have thought. We are what we think.

Rustand shared with us his personal regimen for putting his mind in a position to compete with everyone else. He starts his day with these three tasks:
– 10 minutes of positive reading
– 10 minutes of positive thoughts about our world
– 10  minutes of journaling

He follows this with 90 minutes of exercise, a good breakfast, and an air-tight schedule that makes the most of every minute, which keeps him productive as opposed to busy.

My mornings start in a very similar manner. My day begins with 60-75 minutes of exercise, followed by guided meditation. I save my journaling for the evenings.

If this seems a bit ambitious, remember that we are the sum of our thoughts. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. What seems daunting now ultimately becomes our norm. This is how we grow in business and in life.

2. Live With Purpose.
If you are a business owner, have you create a vision statement for your business? Most of the same principles we apply to our business leadership are applicable to our family leadership.

Consider the possibility of formulating a personal vision statement that identifies where you are going, and a family vision statement.

My personal vision statement is, “A Catalyst to Extraordinary Professional and Personal Success for Business Owners Everywhere through my Writing, Speaking, and Mentoring.”

Our personal greatness raises others around us.

3. Act With Intent.
Strategy in everything – personal and professional – is everything. If our strategy for our outcome is wrong, the execution doesn’t matter. 

What are your strategies for your life? For you, your marriage/relationship, your family?

4. Make Conscious Choices.
Stephen Covey talks about three great moments of discovery – the points in time when a person discovers who they are at the core of their being:
– When we identify our core beliefs and values
– When we make a commitment to those values
– When we behave according to those values

Defining our ethics, values, and beliefs are decisions that we make once. Once we have defined them, all of our decisions flow from them.

I strongly believe in values-based leadership. Our core values at Information Experts drive just about every decision we make – from hiring and terminating employees to selecting our customers.

While listening to Rustand and pondering how I could apply his principles to my personal life, I thought about how important it is for me to instill a strong sense of right and wrong in our 14-year old son. As he is an avid basketball player and honors student, it occurred to me that helping him to identify his personal core value system will enable him to base future difficult decisions on a belief system, rather than just relating to a right-versus-wrong mentality. I ran the idea by him, and he liked it.

It is our values that keep us grounded during our most challenging times. They are our moral compass when moments of clarity are sparse. Our values are an essential component in our commitment to greatness.

5. Answering the Call to Serve.
The final principle is our obligation to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Just today, someone asked me why I loved entrepreneurship. I immediately talked about filling the need to be part of something bigger than myself, the need to build, to provide, to lead, to create. Entrepreneurs are committed to building a lasting legacy that is a bridge for others. We fill voids. We create communities. Through our philanthropy, we serve communities. We enable others to reach their potential.

Greatness is an equal-opportunity quest. Regardless of vocation, we can all commit to greatness. We can all commit to helping others, to building up our communities, and the people within them.  Greatness means we are committed to a stronger community, a stronger country a stronger world.

Choose greatness.
Does greatness reside within you? It’s your choice. Today can be the day you choose to commit.

Do you have other strategies to motivate you to the next level? Please share with us.

My next column will recap Rustand’s strategies on achieving greatness within your family, and taking your connection to a new level.


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