What do you believe about greatness? Do you hear the call to greatness or is it reserved for a select special few?
Great Quotes on Greatness
“Everyone has the power for greatness — not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” ~ Wilma Rudolph
“The starting place for your greatness is desire. The desire to succeed, to serve others, to keep on going no matter what.” ~ Assegid Habtewold
“Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.” ~ Marianne Williamson
“Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
“You treat people with greatness and greatness will come back to you.” ~ Afrika Bambaataa
“You can only become great at that thing you’re willing to sacrifice for.” ~ Maya Angelou
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” ~ Winston Churchill
A Great Story About Greatness
It is said that president Abraham Lincoln often slipped out of the White House on Wednesday evenings to listen to the sermons of his friend Reverend Phineas Gurley of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
One evening on the walk home, the aide asked Mr. Lincoln his appraisal of that night’s sermon.
The president thoughtfully replied, “The content was excellent; he delivered with elegance; he obviously put work into the message.”
“Then you thought it was an excellent sermon?” questioned the aide.
“No,” Lincoln answered.
“But you said that the content was excellent and it was delivered with eloquence,” the aide pressed.
“That’s true,” Lincoln said, “But Dr. Gurley forgot the most important ingredient. He forgot to ask us to do something great.”
Greatness is not for you – it’s not for your benefit. Greatness is not about being famous nor even about being appreciated by others. Greatness lies in being of service to others, participating in creating a better world, and calling others to greatness.
“Use your life to serve the world, and you will find that it also serves you,” ~ Oprah Winfrey
The secret to greatness lies in the small actions we each take every day. Each of us is capable of achieving greatness through our everyday actions. Most of the good in the world is built on the accumulated efforts of ordinary people doing small things in a great way.
Why would anyone NOT feel called to greatness (not fame or even riches – IMO speaks to our ego)? ‘Called to greatness’ is aspiring to be the best we can be in working smart and hard to help others in their need. We must consider what greatness means to each of us!
Appreciate your call to greatness, John!
Thank you so much for sharing these facts, please lets keep up it will definitely help us in one way or the other
Thanks so much for your comments. I am so pleased to know you find my blog helpful.
Not gonna lie, I always wanted to be great. I wanted to be great in many ways. I was very disappointed when I realized that wasn’t going to happen for me, yet I’ve always stuck to the same principles to try to be the best I could be and help those who needed it.
BTW, I’m impressed by the quote from Afrika Bambaataa; not many people remember him. 🙂
It depends on how you define greatness, Mitch. Sometimes humility can keep us from recognizing our greatness. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts!
Thank you very much for sharing this. It’s in line with by vision for servant leadership in organizations.
I agree, Jordan. Thank you for that observation.
“Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.” is just what I needed today. Sometimes when things get tough at work, I despair and forget that my job as a leader is not to bring joy to myself but to do what is right for my team.
An important and great thing to remember. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marta.
I have found that seeking happiness is not the right goal. It is a by-product of doing the right thing.
Thank you, Jesse, for great collection of quotes about greatness. My favorites are “Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.” by Marianne Williamson, and “You treat people with greatness and greatness will come back to you.” by Afrika Bambaataa. Both are so much in line with my principals in life and work. I always use the phrase “how can I help you” at work. It usually comes from my genuine desire to help and also to build connection and bridges with others, rather than borders. Thanks
So glad you found these meaningful, Adam. “How can I help you?” is such a great approach, especially when it is accompanied by your genuine desire to help and build bridges.
This reminds me of these real-world examples of leadership mistakes
I really enjoyed this post, it was very insightful. I feel that greatness lies within each of us, but as you mentioned it should be used in service to others. I also appreciated how you included many profound quotes on greatness. My favorite is ““Everyone has the power for greatness — not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. Our greatness lies with our ability to serve other. Many people think greatness requires grand acts, but as you stated, our greatness lies within our daily actions, “ordinary people doing small things in a great way.”
So glad to hear you found this post meaningful. In our book, Full Steam Ahead, Ken Blanchard and I say that “if not in service of a guiding vision, we are in danger of becoming self-serving.” When we truly understand what greatness means, we move beyond our typical self-serving ego and move closer to fulfilling our true potential.