I often hear people say to me, “Well, I am not in a position to do (fill in the blank)…,” and I always find it interesting that many people place limits on themselves when, really, no one else on the outside does. It’s all in your mind. You’re choosing not to be your big self, you’re choosing not to live to your full potential and you’re choosing not to be who you were born to be. Because YOU are choosing to do little to nothing, when in reality if you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t do great things, would you consider to turn that around and do small things in a great way?
If I were to encourage you today to do small things in a great way…would you? I would like to remind you that if you have limited yourself from doing great things; you might be blocking blessings from your life; you might be cutting off opportunities that would result in big things, if you’d step out on faith and do something. In fact, you might be the only thing that stands in your way, so, friend, would you consider doing small things in a great way?
My theme for today is from the encourager-in-chief, Napoleon Hill, who basically wrote the book on being more than your current mindset will see, meaning that you have permission, you have encouragement; some of you even have a directive to do great things. Now is the time to step up to the plate and swing for the rafters.
I must admit, I have always found this Napoleon Hill quote an odd disconnect from all of his other strong directives. It seems to me that this time he is acknowledging that some of you out there are committed to the idea of small living and, if that is to be so, he still won’t let you get by doing nothing. No, you have an opportunity to do small things in a great way.
I think that part of this comes down to 3 BIG ideas: The first is excellence; the second is commitment and the third is action, meaning moving—not standing still, but making movement every day—even on the days you don’t feel like it.
Let’s talk about excellence. I’m not sure what excellence means to you. It is not a word you hear that often anymore, maybe because it is too hard for some to achieve, but the idea of excellence is that whatever you do, you must do it well. You don’t take shortcuts and you maintain your standard of integrity. Most of you today know what shortcuts you’re taking in your work, your life and your relationships. Shortcuts, meaning that you’re not giving it your full attention—your undivided focus.
I like what Oprah Winfrey had to say about excellence: “Let excellence be your brand…when you are excellent, you become unforgettable. Doing the right thing, even when nobody knows you’re doing the right thing will always bring the right thing to you.” She goes on to say, “…the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.” Excellence isn’t easy—it requires more from yourself. Easy is for everyone else; you’re better than that.
Many people I know work at being excellent—excellent in their work, their attitude, their relationships with family and friends. I’ve heard it said that excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.
If you’ve not thought about it, consider making excellence your goal for the rest of your life. You can’t go wrong with that ideal for your best self—for your best life ever!
The next point: If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way would be that of commitment. Like excellence this one is not easy, in fact, commitment might be the hardest trait out of my three today. Like excellence, commitment is a daily choice, and it is a hard decision to make and keep. We all start with the best of intentions but then life has a funny way of stepping in and messing things up. I like the quote that “Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”
When you understand the value of commitment to your best and highest sense of self and see yourself in a way that re-enforces your standard of self-control, self-confidence, self esteem, it will set your personal standard for success. And here is the exciting thing about setting yourself up for success, once you make the commitment to every day—good days and bad, happy days and sad days, for richer or poorer—you can achieve your goal. It’s not that it will be easy, but it will be top of mind, and, once your mind’s eye can see your future, it’s amazing how things just seem to fall into place to make things happen, opportunities appear, and people you’ve not seen in years just seem to show up at the right time to offer the help you with what you need. I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of my clients, but it does not happen without a commitment to do the work.
Committing to your dreams and goals and your work is the best way I know how to help you achieve all those things you’ve hope for, prayed for and, in many cases, worked for. I wish it were easy but it’s not, and you’re going to be okay no matter how you feel about the journey. Just commit to moving forward daily.
My final point is action. Believe it or not, I’m not concerned if you occasionally go sideways instead of straight up the mountain; just make sure you are moving forward, even if it is bit by bit. I have found that once you start to move—to put your shoulder to the plow and push out of the rut of your current situation—you will, in time, find your path. Now don’t be alarmed, because you’ll be unsteady for a time, but then the road will even out and you’ll be able to pick up the pace to get where you’re going. The key is to keep moving.
You may say, Deb, I’ve got a lot on my plate. Why move when things are good enough? Because they won’t be good enough for long. Like it or not, change happens, and sometimes it’s for the good and sometimes not, but you can’t rest on what you’ve done. You’ve got to move, and I trust you’ll move forward.
I wonder if I told you that 5 or 10 years from now you would be in the same place in your life, your job and your relationships; if that were to be the case, do you really think you would be happy? I doubt it, so believe me when I say that moving, whether it be up or sideways, you’ll be in a better place, so don’t fear change; if anything, fear staying the same.
Some of you today need to understand that in life you must make a decision that you are going to take action and move on—it won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
And you’ll know you’re on the right track when you become uninterested in looking back and excited in looking forward. Dr. King is famous for saying, “If you can’t fly – run, if you can’t run – walk, if you can’t walk – crawl, but by all means keep moving.
And I’ll remind you, If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.