The past few weeks have been sobering for me. Not in the traditional abstaining-from-alcohol sense – it’s Rosé season and, trust me, I have a lot of reasons to drink. As the years have gone on and certain things have not gone my way, I’ve had to ask myself what I truly want time and time again. The only answer that I can come up with each time is is that I want to be great. Yes, I have specific career goals in mind to combat the loftiness and abstraction of that ideal, but as Oprah (who I consider to be my personal shaman and spirit guide) advises, I try not to be so focused on the things I think I want to the extent that I miss out on other great opportunities. So I’m open to various possibilities within a certain realm. But whatever I decide to do, I know for certain that I want to be absolutely, unequivocally great at it.
My biggest fear in life is being mediocre. I’m not one of those people that will be alright making a comfortable living at a job where I clock in at 9 and out at 5 and reserve weekends for relaxation. Sure, on days where I’m curled up in the fetal position clinging to a bottle of vodka like it’s a life preserver, a life like that one doesn’t sound all that bad but as much as I try to convince myself, I know deep down that I wouldn’t be happy. So, I want to be great- great. But what do I have to do to get there?
The only answer I can come up with comes in two parts:
1) Work harder than everyone else.
2) Don’t give up.
I know that those sound incredibly elementary and you’re thinking duh, Abby, DUH, but I guarantee you they are not. They sound elementary but actually doing them is what separates the good from the great. People who are great don’t blow off a day brimming with potential for success to party with their friends in honor of Sunday Funday. Whatever fields they are in, they savor their day off to try to take themselves from good to great. Whether they are planning, writing, calling, problem-solving unsolvable conundrums, dreaming – it doesn’t matter, they certainly don’t waste the time given to them.
Everyone has to make that decision for themselves.
Number two, don’t give up. I know it sounds cliché but it’s become so because it’s true! DON’T GIVE UP. You’ve seen those articles circulating on your Facebook newsfeed with lists of celebs like Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and (ah-hem) Oprah who were all either fired or told they would never make it in a particular field. Do you think they listened to the naysayers and gave up? Obviously not. I’ve known way too many people who have done exactly that – given up – because things became difficult and they grew tired of the struggle and wanted to move on to something easier. That’s totally fine. Everyone has to make that decision for themselves, but if you want to be great, giving up is just not an option for you.
Before you complain that you’ve put in all this effort and hard work and still aren’t on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans List for 2014, really ask yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice. My guess is, if you’re one of those people who are hungry to be great, the answer will come in about a second and it will be anything and everything. So, that’s what it takes to be great. It might not happen now and it might not happen a year from now, but it will happen. If you want it enough and go after it hard enough.
Oh, and if you read this and do happen to end up on the Forbes Lists at any point and want to send me a little thank-you for giving you the push you needed, I’ll be more than happy to accept.