“Everybody shake it,
Time to be free amongst yourselves
Your mama told you to be discreet,
and keep your freak to yourself
But your mama lied to you all this time,
She knows as well as you and I
You’ve got to express what is taboo in you
and share your freak with the rest of us
Cause itsa beautiful thang!”

– Macy Gray, 2001 zomba songs

What does this title mean, you ask (besides me cracking myself up?)? Basically, and quite frankly, it’s that we need to stop underestimating the power and importance of discovering, defining and cultivating our greatness. And stop underestimating how incredibly costly it is to quack when we’re not meant to quack and not just on a personal level (although I wonder why personal sacrifices are more acceptable than “corporate” sacrifices)

Sound corny? Sound touchy feely? Sound like something more suitable for a mid-life crisis when we have the time, money and inclination? Well it’s more of a present-day crisis, I believe. I chuckle to myself (and often out loud at inappropriate times but that’s another discussion) when people say “what do you work on, the personal or the business/corporate?” …I’ll give you a second to stop and look around our corporations, go ahead I’ll wait… (to the left, to the right)…What are they filled with? Yeah, that’s right! They are filled with PERSONS! The personal IS the business/corporate. Get it??

When we try to quack (do things that don’t feel right, don’t support what we’re best at, things we feel no passion or commitment to, that aren’t us, are contrary to our integrity, we don’t have the skills for, etc.)…when we should be mooing (if we’re a cow, of course), we cannot possibly, I’ll say it again, CAN’T reach our potential and can’t serve our clients or people in our lives (friends, spouse, children, community) to the best of our ability.

We tend to measure what and how we should be doing things by an external yardstick. An external yardstick will get us what everyone else gets and do what everyone else does, and in some cases that may be driving right off the bridge with the likes of Enron. We know we’re all unique, varied, bring different experiences, education, and talent to the table. With this knowledge we often attempt to beat those things out of us for conformity and ease of measuring sake, and in the process pour the pure gold out with the bath water. (And that ain’t good.)

Greatness is not the same for everyone, yet we attempt to measure with the same tools and criteria. We are all different and all lend something different to the process. If we measure the by the same standards, we are limiting ourselves to what others are doing. If we don’t know what is great about how we do our job, how we interact with others, how we make others feel, the work we do and simply do what others are doing or think we should be doing, how can we possibly make the greatest impact possible? Ok Cyn…get to the nitty gritty…

I recently presented an “uncommon area of responsibility” to a great group at a conference in Tennessee (you know who you are, go on…wave to the people), and now I’ll present it to you. You have the responsibility to know what your greatness is, how it’s best used, and to cultivate greatness in others as well. (Email me NOW and let me know how that sits with you, what is your first reaction to that statement?)

As I said, these concepts will be explored more in future material, but what we’re talking about here is:

Excavating: Discovering the passions you have, what you do best who you work best with, when you’re performing best, when you get the best results. What environments you work best in. The brushing off, the discovery, the clarity and overall vision of what your greatness is.

Articulating: Clarifying the specifics and measurables on what the results define your greatness. What does it look like? How will you know when your greatness is showing up? How will you recognize, find and speak to those you work best with the tasks you do best? Clearly knowing and speaking to the specific things that support our greatness. Knowing how to communicate this to others, specifically how will you know and how will they know.

Cultivating: What steps can you take to attract these things that best support and utilize your greatness? What boundaries do you need to help this happen effortlessly? What habits need to change to help this happen? What changes, enhancements, tools, and resources do you need to seek out to help this happen effortlessly? Why do I feel this is so important?

 “The musician must make music, and artist must paint,
a poet must write, if he is to ultimately be
at peace with himself.
What a man can be, he must be.”

– Abraham Maslow