Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness

I read a blog post yesterday that really caught my attention.  It highlighted a list created by Don Yaeger, former editor of Sports Illustrated.  Don has put together a list of "Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness".  While we all aspire to be great, Don has hit on traits that separate the great from everyone else. I read this list and thought of people I admire.  It is the best list of attributes of successful entrepreneurs, athletes and business executives I have ever read.  I thought I would share the complete list with you here... it is well worth the read.  Maybe you see some of these traits in yourself or someone in your life... Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness How they think: 1. It’s personal They hate to lose more than they love to win. People that aspire to greatness know that defeat just isn’t an option. 2. Rubbing elbows They understand the value of association. I always say that we become the people that surround us. Those of us who are aspiring to greatness, it is our job to rub elbows with the right people and to learn what makes them successful and what keeps them going. In turn, it is up to them to help us better ourselves. And if you can’t change the people around you, then choose different people to be around. Think about it. 3. Believe They have faith in a higher power. It is proven that a strong spiritual commitment, and a strong belief in faith is linked to a positive outcome. In our current economic state, always remember the power of a positive mind-set and the importance of belief in beating the impossible. 4. Contagious enthusiasm They are positive thinkers… They are enthusiastic… and that enthusiasm rubs off. When you’re trying to work through your challenge-professional or personal – do so with the belief that the best is yet to come. Stay positive. How they prepare: 5. Hope for the best but… They prepare for all possibilities before they step on the field. I am an eternal optimist. But I am also a realist. When I enter into any situation, I am excited about the possibilities it may bring. But I also know that there are a lot of variables beyond my control. So I contingency-plan. 6. What off-season? They are always working towards the next game… The goal is what’s ahead, and there’s always something ahead. if you visualize where you want to be and work backwards from there, you can always be moving the ball forward. 7. Visualize victory They see victory before the game begins. Positive visualization is a proven ingredient of a successful outcome. 8. Inner fire They use adversity as fuel.One thing in life is certain… none of us gets through without adversity. What matters is that we find the strength to work through it. When we are knocked down, it may take hours, days, weeks, or months, but we need to get back up. For me, I’m at the point where challenging situations invigorate me. I’m mentally tough enough to embrace the adversity heading my way, overcome it, and learn from it. How they work: 9. Ice in their veins They are risk-takers and don’t fear making a mistake. Failure is one of our greatest teachers. I’m amazed at how much risk-tolerance I have acquired. But it’s the one component that enables me to keep growing. If I stopped to think about how much I have on the line, I would be paralyzed. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career,” NBA legend Michael Jordan, who was known for his late-game heroics in addition to six national titles, once said. “I’ve lost almost 300 games – 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” 10. When all else fails They know how – and when – to adjust their game plan. Flexibility and adaptability is essential to survival. I wrote a previous column on this exact topic… the ability to shift when everything around you is shifting too. 11. Ultimate teammate They will assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win. Individual accomplishments are important, but the sum is always greater in value than the individual parts. How much do you step up to help those around you? When others around you thrive, you thrive as well. 12. Not just about the Benjamins They don’t play just for the money. It’s never about the money. And if it is, it’s about the wrong thing. The money will come if you follow your passion… if you become a part of something bigger than yourself. As a business owner, I view our profits as a catalyst to build a greater organization. How they live: 13. Do unto others They know character is defined by how they treat those who cannot help them. One of the greatest sources of satisfaction is helping others, from a truly altruistic standpoint. We all have something to give… our time, our experiences, our compassion. 14. When no one is watching They are comfortable in the mirror… they live their life with integrity. I always tell my kids… “What matters is not what you do when everyone is watching. What matters is what you do when no one is watching.” Your ultimate accountability has to be to yourself. 15. When everyone is watching They embrace the idea of being a role model. As leaders, we have an obligation to promote positive leadership, and demonstrate the positive influence we can have on others. Our actions shape those coming behind us. 16. Records are made to be broken They know their legacy isn’t what they did on the field. They are well-rounded. A legacy isn’t what you took from this world. A legacy is what you leave behind. Now go out and accomplish something! Tom Cuthbert