Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your Greatness

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Your greatness is not what you have. It's what you give.
- Anon.

I discovered this quote recently. It was printed on the label dangling from my tea bag and it struck me on many levels. The simple reading implies that charity is a higher value than acquisition. OK - that sounds good.

But what does "your greatness" mean? Is it your legacy? Your popularity? Your abilities? Your wealth? Your sphere of influence?

Does it mean different things to different people? I'm not really sure.

Many of us strive to be 'great'. You probably wouldn't be reading a blog about mentoring if you weren't looking to improve yourself or others. When most of us think about working towards being 'great' we tend to think of improving a skill or an area of knowledge. We seek to obtain a new skill or a achieve a higher level of a current skill. Or our goal may be to produce something that others would deem 'great' which would result in us getting nice compliments or perhaps a monetary reward. Rarely does one think of giving as a means to becoming 'great'. I certainly never thought of it that way until my encounter with that quote printed on my tea. I'd argue that it's counter intuitive to give - to part with something - to achieve greatness.

Then I thought that you can only give from what you have. You cannot give something, whether it's material (money) or ethereal (wisdom), without having some measure of it first. Perhaps 'giving' is the ultimate proof of 'having'. I like that idea.

Then my mind turns to mentoring and how perfectly the quote describes this activity. But it's even better because like the flame of a candle that can ignite another candle's wick without diminishing itself whatsoever so to is mentoring. With mentoring you can give and NOT part with anything and still achieve 'greatness'. The potential of greatness you as a Mentor ignite in another in no way diminishes your greatness. In fact it's the opposite. The more light you cause to spread by the giving of your time, your wisdom and your conversations the more greatness will be attributed to you and be recognized by others.

In the end if you, by giving your time as a Mentor, impact even one single life with one single conversation then you would have already achieved a greatness many others spend a lifetime seeking.


Suff said...

I just read your writing now in 2019 and I am deeply touched and agree with what you said. Thank you for sharing this.

On Mentoring said...

Thank you for the kind words! Much appreciated.