Choosing to be great is just that, a choice.  That means that we are in control of our lives which seems evident but is certainly worth some thought.

You see, some choices we make in life are harder than others because the consequences of our actions can determine the direction of our lives and the lives of others in our world.  And that becomes a much more profound position to find yourself in.

Before we tackle choices and their impact on our lives and the lives of those in our circle, let’s examine the word “great.”

It’s not easy to be great at something.  Whether that something is basketball, poetry, surgery or LIFE.  Every Pro athlete put in thousands of hours of practice to be great.

Every published poet has written hundreds of poems.  And we all know that a surgeon spends a minimum of 12 years in medical school before actually opening live people up.

GREAT-ness, then, comes at a price.  The price of time, energy and lots and lots of effort.

Another thing about greatness is that it can exist in all walks of life.  Some great people are more easily spotted and get far more attention while others are less obvious which requires some investigating.

But what connects these great people is how they execute the game plan for their life.

Now, not all game plans are foolproof.  There are still going to be failures, mistakes and unforeseen events that can derail our efforts.  It is those challenges we face that prepares us, makes us stronger and fortifies our character.

And character alone is clear to everyone around you.

Character is the essence of someone.

It defines their actions in all that they do.

Someone with character makes the right decisions when others are watching AND especially when they aren’t.

CW Boxing

The career garbage man, corporate executive and high school football coach can all have character.  They can all be hard workers.  Many of them wake up each day with the same mindset albeit very different responsibilities.

Now, back to the choices we make.

These men can CHOOSE to just show up and go through their day with mediocre results or they can DECIDE to dominate and be the best at their job.

We hear stories all the time about the extraordinary high school coach who’s been at the same school for 25 years and has become a legendary person in the community.

We hear about the corporate executive who has to make the tough decisions for his company but puts his people first and is extremely charitable.

We also hear about the passionate garbage man who supports his family of 5 on his meager salary and goes to work every day with a smile on his face and pride in his work.

How did these men end up doing what they do the way they do it?

They all had a plan, stuck to it in good times and bad and remained who they were regardless of outside pressures.  Life can throw us curve balls and present us with unthinkable challenges but those with character remain rooted to their ways.

So the question for you then becomes, “Will your values, morals, integrity and character hold up as you experience all that life has in store for you?”

For those that don’t give in or deny themselves their most sacred beliefs, the answer seems easy.  It’s YES every time.

Most highly successful men and women will be the first ones to share with you their failures, struggles and missteps.  And without those miscues, we wouldn’t be reminded just how important it is to remain rooted to who we truly are.

When times are toughest and decisions aren’t easy, what choices will we make?  This is something you must know for yourself.

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How will the garbage man respond to broken down equipment, heavy traffic, or irresponsible co-workers?

How will the head football coach react to his high school’s losing season?

How will the executive act in response to the board calling for layoffs and reductions in pay?

These are all very difficult scenarios for all men but they will face them head on and make the tough decisions based on their value system and character.

The choice to be great in life will guide them to do what’s best for those in their care.  Their actions will be thoughtful, careful and deliberate.

And in the end, these men will take a moment to evaluate their response to these challenges.

They will grade themselves and always attempt to do it even better the next time hard choices come their way.