I have a deep and abiding belief that there lies within every person the capacity for greatness. I don't mean the old adage that you can become anything you want to be -- I'm more receptive to Peter F. Drucker's admonition to not "waste time trying to put in what the creator left out." But the potential of almost every person is far above his or her level of achievement. That so few rise to their potential does not in any way diminish the validity of this belief. We often see some obscure person rise apparently from nowhere to leadership of a cause or a movement, giving proof to the idea that this capacity lies dormant within each and every one of us.
We've been conditioned by life and by the authority figures we grew up with to recognize and accept ourselves as we are, with severe restrictions on our abilities. We were taught to accept our role and station in life without whining, that the ability to accept and endure our lot shows strength and character. So long as we are prepared to go through life accepting that which fate has thrust upon us as our ordained destiny, so too are we condemned, by our own resignation, our own self depreciation, to the ranks of mediocrity. Others may put me down but the choice to stay down is mine alone.
If we can find within ourselves the courage to challenge fate, to say to her and to the entire world, "I am not ordinary. I will not accept that it is my destiny to live out my life in a humdrum existence, doing things of little consequence, never dreaming, never daring to reach for more.", then we have forced open the door to, at least the possibility of greatness. Leadership writer Paul J. Meyers said, " there is in our world a vast storehouse of plenty which is approached by some with a steam shovel, by others with a tea spoon."
"What", you ask, "if I spend my entire life in pursuit of this fantastic dream yet never achieve it? I will feel robbed, cheated, let down, betrayed."
Who suffers the worse fate, the man who fights to no avail with every fibre of his being for that in which he truly believes or the man who spends his life whining, "I could have been a contender"? "Man's goals should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for." (Robert Browning )
Of all the peoples in the world we, who live in Canada and The United States -- countries built on and by the impossible dreams of men and women of vision and courage, determined to soldier on in the face of horrendous odds -- have the least excuse for believing in our limitations, for accepting our fate. With the hundreds of larger than life legends in our heritage, how can we dare to not believe in our own incredible potential?
All of us in North America, indeed throughout the world, must relearn this ability to "dream the impossible dream" and to bring to bear the necessary resources, belief, determination and courage to make our dreams come true.
I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.(source unconfirmed)
Len McNally is President and founder (in 1996) of The Leadership Centre, dedicated to leadership development, management team building and change management through executive and corporate coaching - from the top floor to the shop floor. With more than thirty years experience in sales, marketing and business development Len has for many years been an avid student of psychology, behavior and motivation. He still reads three to four books a month and has writen several book reviews for Amazon.com. He can be reached at (519) 759-1127 or email: [email protected] Other articles may be seen at: http://www.tlc-leadership.com