Do you possess attributes of greatness? I’m guessing that you do. I think it’s one of the reasons you read this blog and others with similar themes of self-improvement and personal development. We all want to learn to be better workers, to make smarter decisions, and to become better and more well-rounded human beings. Part of learning mastery in life is realizing our true potential. And with that, I ask another version of the greatness question: Do you ever know when you’re in the presence of greatness?
We know greatness when we see it unfold on television. Everyone applauds Sully Sullenberger when he leads his crew of passengers on board Airbus flight 1549 to a safe landing in the Hudson River. And we should applaud — this is greatness. We cheer when Captain Richard Phillips stands in the face of dangerous Somali pirates and survives. And we should. Phillips lives to tell about it and this is a moment of greatness and bravery.
We know it each time a head of state is elected. Regardless of our political preferences, we must conclude that these people didn’t get there overnight. And someone (perhaps a lot of someones) must have seen something extraordinary in them, because there they are. Did this greatness (hereby known as the “oomph factor”) emerge only when they ran for office? Or did it begin much earlier?
The Happiest, Most Passionate Waiter You Ever Saw
A Sonic Drive-In Restaurant sits down the road from my house. This bodes well for my wife and me when they give their drinks away for half-price every day. But it bodes well for another reason, too. They have an employee who skates his way around the parking lot each day with the most hustle, passion, and zeal I’ve ever seen. And I want to be clear on this: it is the most hustle, passion, and zeal that I’ve ever seen. Period. And as he was delivering my order last week, it dawned on me that I was sitting in the presence of greatness.
For all I know, this was an exceptionally good day for the Sonic employee, but I somehow don’t think so. His excitement is contagious (“You got it, boss!” – This guy called me “Boss.” Can’t help but like that.). And one might receive their order from this guy, with his nod and pointed finger – that pointed finger that says, “No, YOU da man!” – and wonder just what this guy might do elsewhere someday. Right now, he’s working his way through college, but one day he might just own the entire corporation. My guess is that he’ll own his own company, one way or the other. My bet is that it will likely be successful.
Your Own Personal Oomph. Yes, You Have One.
No one needs to tell you that you’re great. And if you’re out there thinking that you are, stop right this instant. No one needs a big head. If you know you were meant for more than what you’re doing, that’s more like it. The need to achieve mastery is one of our core needs as human beings, and we feel it when we’re in the presence of it.
Which leads us to another question: Do our colleagues, coworkers, family, and friends sense an “oomph factor” in us?
Are you committing everything you’ve got to what you’re doing right now? You may be working a job for a pay check, but I’m guessing there are elements of your creativity, your brain power, your likability, or other skill set that you could begin using your imagination to implement into that job to make it uniquely you.
It’s the ability to do your job in a way that no one else could possibly do it – with only your imagination, your spunk, your smile. This makes you indispensable. It may cause you to fall in love with your job more than ever. And it will most certainly become evident to those who work in your presence. And you’ll never have to say a word about it. In fact, it’s better if you don’t.
I’m guessing Mr. Sonic Car Hop isn’t head-over-heels in love with what he does for a living, but he has placed the oomph factor of who he is in it, and in so doing, he’s creating a name for himself among Sonic visitors, and that irreplaceability will follow him wherever he goes.
Oomph Isn’t Born. It’s Made.
No one is born great. People are born rich, poor, tall, short, well, and sick. They are born Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, South Africans, Russians, Greeks, and Australians. Some may even be born to great people. But none of them are born great.
Oomph happens when you decide to be the best version of you that you can be. It happens when you are open-minded, when you are teachable, and when you are decisive. It happens when you expect more of yourself and believe more in others. And when you’ve achieved it, there’s a good chance people will see it when they’re around you.