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What It Takes To Be Great

Otis Williams

WARNING! DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE--unless you are tired of being average. This article is only for those few who truly have a burning desire to be great. Winston Churchill said, "The price of greatness is responsibility." Now, if you are serious, willing, and committed to elevating yourself head and shoulders above the crowd, here are the five keys that will make you G.R.E.A.T.

  1. Key One: You must be Goal-oriented.
  2. Key Two: You must be Results-oriented.
  3. Key Three: You must be Excellence-oriented.
  4. Key Four: You must be Action-oriented.
  5. Key Five: You must be Time-oriented.

Key One: You must be Goal-oriented.

The purpose of goals is to focus your attention, give your life direction, and create activity. In order to be great you must be willing to stretch and grow. That means setting goals in each of the seven major areas of your life. What goals have you set for yourself in the following areas: spiritual, family, physical, career, financial, mental, and social. If you do not have goals set for each of the seven major areas of your life, you will never achieve your full potential. It has been said that goals serve as a stimulus to life. They tend to tap the deeper resources and draw out of life its best. Where there are no goals, neither will there be significant accomplishments. There will only be existence. Once you have set your goals, life expects you to produce.

Key Two: You must be Results-oriented.

You judge a tree by the fruit it bears, not the fruit it talks about. David Kearns, chairman, Xerox said, "People who get ahead are those who prove they can get things done." Now while you're busy getting things done, make sure that you don't confuse activity for achievement. Yes, I understand that results take time. However, keep in mind what Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, said, "Life asks us to make measurable progress in reasonable time." At the end of each day, you should be able to review your performance; and the results should either commend you or convict you. Remember: It's not what you do but how much you get done that counts. Also, don't let rules get in the way of results; be willing to take some risks. Just make sure that you achieve your results legally, morally, and ethically. Oh, yes, there's something else. Results must be produced in the spirit of excellence.

Key Three: You must be Excellence-oriented.

It was Vincent Lombardi who said, "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

Otis Williams
Otis Williams
Good enough is the enemy of excellence. It is no longer good enough to meet the standards. It's time to exceed the standards and in the process set new ones. You must reach for a level of excellence where your name will become synonymous with what you do. For example: If I were to ask, "What is the safest car in the world?" What would you answer? My answer would be Volvo; did we agree? Out of all the cars in the world today, we agreed that the safest one is Volvo--and it is! That's what I mean by standard-setting excellence. And in order to produce that type of excellence, you have to be a person of action.

Key Four: You must be Action-oriented.

"Is she a self-starter?" "Will he get the job done?" "Will she follow-up and follow-through?" "Can he get results?" All these questions have one purpose: To find out if the person is a person of action. Why? Because as General George Patton said, "An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body." There will always be a demand for an action-oriented person.

The following story illustrates the importance of taking action:

There once were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. An important job had to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it and that Somebody would do it. But Nobody realized that Everybody thought Somebody would do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. Be the person who takes action and makes things happen. How? Glad you asked. Prioritize your agenda and manage your time wisely.

Key Five: You must be Time-oriented.

How do you invest your time? Do you plan your work and work your plan? Do you put first thing's first? Or do you major in minor things? Do you let other people waste your time? Here's a great question for you: What do you do when you don't have anything to do? Time is the one resource that we all have in common, and it is how we choose to invest our time that makes the profound differences in our lives. Great men and women understand that time is their most valuable asset. It is the best kept secret of the rich.

To better manage your time, keep in mind the following question: Is what I'm doing or about to do getting me closer to my goal? If the answer is yes, drive on. If the answer is no, stop and redirect your efforts to accomplish your goal. We have all been destined to be great at something. However, only a few will answer the call.

If you desire to become a G.R.E.A.T. individual, remember to be Goal, Results, Excellence, Action, and Time-oriented. These are the elements of true greatness.


Otis Williams is one of the most sought-after speakers and trainers in the area of human potential. Otis delivers a high-energy message, which challenges people to take responsibility for their own lives and to stop making excuses as to why they are not living-up to their true potential.
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