“God makes greatness. He is the greatest artisan of all time, and He creates something that nobody else could possibly create in any way.”
God doesn’t make junk. You’ve probably heard that saying at some point in your life, whether through pop culture, music, or books. It’s common and often said humorously, but it’s absolutely true. And recognizing the fact that God made us – and in His own image no less – is integral to our pursuit of greatness. And that pursuit itself is necessary to our fulfillment in life. We were made to attain greatness, not through fame or money, but through holiness and eventually sainthood.
Anything you do, you can attain greatness in it. You don’t need to be a professional athlete or a rockstar musician or an Oscar-nominated actor. You can have a profound impact on the world by doing everything to the best of your ability. You could be a schoolteacher or a bus driver or a small business owner or a rocket scientist. In God’s eyes, each and every one of us has the same potential for greatness. And we are all capable of getting there.
But it will never be easy. There will be areas in which we struggle. John Morales welcomed Dave Durand onto Morning Air to discuss the 5 things that can stunt and destroy our greatness, and how to avoid them.
- Pettiness – If you play stupid games, you will win stupid prizes. But you can’t lose a game that you don’t participate in. Dave suggests rejecting the temptation to be petty in the workplace and in our relationships because it never ends well. Pettiness is a game organized by the vice of pride, and it always ends in making others feel lesser.
Pettiness can refer both to the battles that we create, and also to the battles that we pick. The battles that we create are pointless exercises in ambition and competition that serves nobody’s long-term goals. The battles that we pick might be actual instances of injustice or mistakes, but when choosing between pettiness and magnanimity in those cases, we only have to answer one question: Is this the hill I want to die on?
- Ego & Pride – Pettiness is the car that is being driven by the engine of ego and pride. Dave said the greatest way he knows of to get over these vices is to find humility through the sacrament of reconciliation. When we go to confession, we make an examination of conscience and that’s a way of doing a metaphorical deep clean.
We are usually aware of our big sins, but an examination of conscience can allow us to weed out the most engrained vices and grant us a renewed vigor to form resolutions. Reject pride and the desire to coddle our egos.
- Irrelevant Details – Details are a super important part of business, success, and achieving greatness. Irrelevant details are not. Dave said that he sees so many people on a regular basis get caught up in meetings about topics that are simply unproductive and unnecessary. They get bogged down with indecision on matters that do not move the needle.
He gave the example of employees who can’t decide between what time management software or app to use. The one they should use, he said, is the one that gets them out there doing their jobs. This tactic is a form of procrastination: People focus so hard on the most inane details as an excuse for not doing their jobs. It may not be intentional, but it’s real.
- ‘Let’s Schedule a Meeting’ Mentality – Just like details, meetings are essential for business operations. However, there’s a very common tendency to want to turn everything into a meeting. Don’t make a phone call, schedule a meeting. Don’t send an email, schedule a meeting. Don’t send a text or walk over to your coworker’s desk, schedule a meeting.
Dave talked about how his company has created what’s known as an interruptive culture. It doesn’t matter whos’ meeting with who or where or when: As long as the door is open, any employee can come in and ask a question to Dave, the CEO, the CFO, the COO, or whoever else is in the room. If Dave instead made the inquiring employee schedule a meeting for next week, then that would push back not only his task, but all of the projects related to his question, and all of the other people waiting on him. That’s operating at a deficit and that’s not how you achieve greatness.
- Lack of Flexibility – Dave said the executives at his company stand by the position that one shouldn’t adhere to “policy for policy’s sake”. As with details and meetings, policies are essential to the organization of a company, but very often, stringent policies can be the downfall of a company if there isn’t any room for exceptions.
A policy without exceptions is like a person saying of their faults, “That’s just the way I am. Accept it.” There’s no room for change. It’s an ultimatum: policy or else. Instead, we should be constantly analyzing how we can improve. There are always areas that are lacking. Focus on improving those. That’s how you become excellent. That’s how you become great.
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