How to Move from Good to Great

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Lewis Howes. Lewis is a lifestyle entrepreneur, business coach, author, and keynote speaker. You can find him on The School of Greatness and Twitter.

Legendary NFL running back, Walter Payton, pointed out, “When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.”

how to be great

So how do you go from good to great?

I’ve asked this question for years. Actually, I’ve been obsessed with greatness since I was a kid. At first, I focused only on athletic greatness.

It was my outlet and sanctuary from the frustration, anger, and sadness of a rough family situation, no friends, and the nightmare of trying to get good grades while battling dyslexia in school.

But after reaching those initial athletic goals of becoming All-American and breaking a world record in football, I was still seeking greatness. There had to be more to it than physical prowess.

It wasn’t until I started my podcast, The School of Greatness, that I started to feed the deep hunger for this knowledge. I’ve had the privilege to interview some of the most brilliant and inspiring minds in fitness, entrepreneurship, creativity, and spirituality and I’m only 250 episodes in.

As a way to keep track of all the notes I’ve been taking in this school, as well as share them with the world, I’ve written a book of the top 8 lessons so far about what it takes to be great.

Here they are, with quotes from my “professors” on what they have learned differentiates good from great.

1. Create a vision

Without a crystal clear vision of what you are going to accomplish, you won’t know where to start. This is essential, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Work on your vision every day and let it evolve as you learn and progress down your path.

Find what you’re passionate about and be brave enough to pursue it as your life’s work.
—Michele Promaulayko, Editor in Chief, Yahoo! Health

2. Turn adversity into advantage

As soon as you realize you have a choice in adversity, you also realize you are in control. The biggest lessons usually come from the biggest failures, so learn to see failures as feedback. That’s the kind of insight that can show you your next move.

Those people that buck back, it’s just amazing to see the levels they rise to. They are fearless in what they share.
—Tim Larkin, New York Times bestselling Author, Top Self-Defense Coach

3. Cultivate a champion mindset

Reconnect with your strengths, your passion, and your ambition and cement those into your mindset. You have to believe you are capable of achieving greatness before you have the proof that you are.

Make a daily practice of visualizing yourself in your greatest form.

Have pride in yourself and know you couldn’t have done anything more.
—Shawn Johnson, Gymnast, Olympic Gold Medalist

4. Develop hustle

When you hustle you are in good company; it’s how all the A players got to where they are. Hustle is what sets apart the good from the great.

Results speak for themselves.

Heart and hustle beat intelligence all day long.
—Fabio Viviani, Top Chef Star and Restaurateur

5. Master your body

The truth is, your body is the vehicle that allows you to do what you were born to do. Once you respect it, you’ll find the discipline to take care of your body and constantly work on improving it.

If you don’t have what you want and your body isn’t in the condition you wish it were, it’s a guarantee those two things are related.

Doing stuff I don’t want to do is greatness.
—Joe De Sena, Founder, Spartan Races

6. Practice positive habits

A huge part of greatness is using our ability to form habits to our advantage. The less energy you have to spend on making small daily decisions, the more you have to create something new.

Create healthy, productive routines and treat them as essential to your livelihood.

You are what you do everyday.
—Jon Chu, Hollywood Film Director

7. Build a winning team

Playing solo (AKA perfectionism) might have gotten you this far, but it’s not going to get you to your full potential. Invest in relationships that you can add a lot to and that you can receive a lot from.

Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak.

Inspire others to take risks, push their boundaries and become greater than they ever thought they could be.
—Adam Braun, Founder, Pencils of Promise

8. Be of service to others

You’ll discover quickly that greatness which only serves you is empty. Serving others with your talents and resources is what makes a good person a great person.

No matter where you are in your journey, it’s never too early to start making service a part of it.

Greatness is impact and impact is service.
—Keith Ferrazzi, Author, Never Eat Alone

School-of-GreatnessLewis’s newest book, The School of Greatness, provides a framework for achieving real, sustainable, repeatable success. You get the tools, knowledge and actionable resources to take your vision and turn it into a reality.

How are you pursuing greatness? What is the difference between good and great? Share in the comments.

Lewis Howes is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high performance business coach, author, and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and two-sport All-American, he is a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. Lewis hosts The School of Greatness podcast, which has received millions of downloads since it launched in 2013. His newest book, The School of Greatness, provides a framework for achieving real, sustainable, repeatable success.

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8 thoughts on “How to Move from Good to Great

  1. Lewis, this is an awesome post. #2 particularly resonates with me. I’m coming off a stinging business failure. Actually the business didn’t fail… I took it from zero to thriving. But I failed to protect myself and my interests. And it was bundled up and taken away from me. When things go wrong, most people point the finger. At their partners. At the circumstances. They paint themselves as a victim. Well I am not a victim. I simply screwed up. The greatest thing you can do when you screw up is to own it, and point the finger right back at yourself. And ask yourself “What have I learned?” “What can I do better next time?” Thanks again!

  2. Vulnerabilities bear superheroes. Loved it Lewis.

    You people are awesome as a team. That picture of you all at a dinner together still reminds me about the strength of unity. Seems like you’re taking over the internet by slowly helping each others network to grow.

  3. Wonderfully written Lewis! You summarized your points so well and I found each one very helpful & a great reminder to slow down and remember to do these things.:-) Thank you.

  4. Glad I found this article through a friend on LinkedIn. As many people have probably experienced in their lives, there comes a point where you get complacent and stop striving to do great things. We sometimes get stuck in a mode of survival instead of attempting to thrive. I personally can attest that when I created a vision of where I wanted to go it became much easier to start moving in that direction. Now I am forming habits and working on staying consistent. Lewis, this post was a huge help to me and I appreciate you taking the time to put it together. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

    1. I loved your thoughts Frank, it’s so true we get stuck on autopilot in our daily living. Sounds like you are forming great habits to propel yourself towards greatness. Like the article quote says “you are what you do every day”. I wrote a quick read titled “Are you surviving…or thriving?” You might want to check it out for more inspiration on how to move from good to great. https://medium.com/@nicoletaffs12/are-you-surviving-or-thriving-6687551fc358#.795b014sh

  5. Hi Lewis,

    I love the way you have broken “good to great” into simple, actionable steps [and even thoughts] that one can begin to take action on, immediately.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. The difference between good and great is the ability to tap into authenticity. To achieve success professionally, to follow your true calling, to be of real service to others…always requires getting vulnerable. Exploring the hardest lessons life dealt to us and how we have overcome them, looking to ourselves and owning our past failures. Noticing how we are different from everyone else and appreciating that uniqueness. These self reflections point the way to our greatest potentials, personally and professionally. Using our unique stories as an advantage by allowing them to help and inspire others, to offer authentic value to others, is the quickest way to greatness.

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