ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Take A Stand For Your Own Greatness

Updated on December 24, 2008

Stand Up For Your Greatness!

Take a stand for your own greatness!
Take a stand for your own greatness!

Stand Up For the Greatness That Is In You!


"To be loved for what one is, is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him, their own selves, their version of him. " -- Goethe


22 years ago, I didn't even know what my "greatness" looked or felt like. I hadn't given it any thought. Then, I took part in an instructor’s course designed to teach me how to help people create what truly mattered to them.

At the beginning of the course, I was shy. I hung back. I wondering what this event was going to be like. I feared I might have to do things that embarassed me. But, despite my shyness and lack of experience in such situations, I found greatness in the course, and greatness in myself.

During th 5-day course, we worked late into the evenings. Then we bounced up early the next morning to start work again. We crafted clear visions. We assessed Current Reality. We held vision and current reality in mind, together, to set up creative tension. We learned to use creative tension as a container for creating, for guiding actions, and learning from experience.

The workshop was intense. We watched Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream!” speech on video, and John F. Kennedy's "moon" speech. We watched Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol. It helped us see that people could change, and transcend their past. And that all of us can transcend our past.  We too, can change, as we stretch for a those things we'd truly love to create.

During the workshop, we spent time coaching each other in the skills and structure of creating. As we got better at working with the framework, we got clearer about what  mattered to us—in life, work, relationships, and whatever.

I loved it all—except for one exercise.


The Dreaded Taking A Stand for Your Own Greatness Exercise

As day two wound down, our workshop leader Kallenn asked us to stand and state, “I take a stand for my own greatness.” As he passed the mic to a woman in front, my sphincter tightened, and my gut tried to tie itself into a  knot.

The woman popped up, turned around, and proudly proclaimed to us how great she was. But, six rows back, I felt like bolting for the door. I didn't understand why I didn’t want to do it. I just knew that  I did not want to stand up and say those words. When my turn came, I reluctantly hauled myself off my chair, and garbled the words into the mic. When I sat down, I felt that I was a stranger to soul, a traitor to my own heart.

Rather than go for dinner with my new-found friends, I sat, alone, on a bluff overlooking a lake. As I jotted notes in my journal, I felt confused and conflicted. I didn't know what personal greatness was. Nor was I convinced I had any to stand up for.

As I dug deeper into thinking, I discovered that I was angry at myself for not practicing what I preached. An ex-professor and leadership coach, I’d run a  mountaineering and leadership school in the Canadian Rockies for six years. However, I'd overstayed my welcome. I’d drifted through my last two years there.  Unable to take the school in the direction I wanted it to go, I failed to  put my all into the direction The Board wanted the school wanted to go.

Finally, I left, dispirited, and down. I drifted through life until I got this opportunity to become a "creating" teacher. As I recapped that time, I realized that the reason I didn’t feel greatness was because I’d let myself down. I hadn't focused on what truly mattered to me. I let my spirit’s flame burn too low.

Now, I realized, I wanted to do something big again, something great.  I wanted feel greatness. But, I also feared admitting it. If i did, I thought, then I might have to stretch for something too big, something out of reach for me. Besides, I thought, who was I to proclaim greatness?


Accepting and Owning My Own Greatness

I sat, watched the lake, and pondered my questions for over an hour. And, when I went back to the workshop, something had shifted in me. I still was aware of my contradictions, but somehow, now, I was at ease with them.

I immersed myself in the creating work. I applied my learning with vigor. I struggled to change, and grow. Slowly, I felt the shift deepen. Something opened up in me. I caught a quick glimpse of myself in what Maslow calls our "most perfect moments." And liked it! As a vision for my life and work came into focus, I felt my inner flame sputter back to life.

At the course closing, Kallenn asked each of us to make a final remark. This time I felt eager to speak, empowered by what I'd learned. Still, when I stood and faced the group, I felt nervous, edgy, yet excited.

“A couple of days ago,” I told the 60 others in the class, “I told you that I took a stand for my own greatness. That wasn't true.  I lied. I didn’t feel any greatness then. I  just said the words. But, in the days since, I’ve discovered that greatness is not about my ego, or my power over others.

Greatness, I see, now, is about my capacity to create what matters—to bring into the world what I truly want to create. Greatness, I see now, is in us all.  And, if we don't acknowledge, and own it, it dies. Realizing this, I can now say honestly, “I do take a stand for my own greatness.”

As I sat down, I finally felt like I owned my own heart. My soul shone. 


Helping Others Accept And Own Thier  Greatness

Since that workshop, I’ve helped thousands learn to create what matters to them. And because I also work at expressing my personal greatness through  and writing, I know why it is so difficult, at times, to do so.

Often, we fail to acknowledge our greatness for fear of what others might say about us. Denying our deepest feelings, we invest our energy in lesser things. We withdraw from our own power. But, I've come to see that not offering our gifts to the world is riskier than putting them out there.

Marianne Williamson once said, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talent, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

By accepting our greatness, we live into our authentic power.

By creating what we love, we give the gifts only we can give to the world. By contributing to our community, our lives become more meaningful. By bringing our greatness into the world, we leave our planet better for having been here.


Relighting My Spirt's Flame

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening,” Martha Graham told a young dancer, “that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost."

It is not our business to judge how great our gifts are. It is not our business to judge how useful they are to others. It is not for us to compare our greatness to other's greatness. They are different, unique. It is our business to let life's vitality flow through us freely, and into the world. Our challenge is to keep the flame of our creative spirit bright.

I haven’t always been successful at keeping my flame brilliant. But when it flickers, I stop and think back. I remember how empowered I felt that day I took a stand for my own greatness. I recall how vital I feel when I create what truly matters to me, and give my gifts to the world.

Doing so opens me, again, to the possibility that lies. undiscovered, all around me. If I’m tempted to hold back, to ignore my greatness, I recall Goethe’s famous couplet: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. / Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Remembering that my own greatness is unique, I  choose to create and give my gifts to the world, and let whatever happens happen."

More about Bruce here.

Vitality Flowing, Greatness Growing!

Youthful Vitality
Youthful Vitality

Seeds of Greatness


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Bruce Elkin profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Elkin 

      11 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Hey, Ro. I'm glad you got value from that statement. Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      Ro Lewis 

      11 years ago

      I really liked this statement Bruce: It is not our business to judge how good our gifts are, nor how valuable. It is not for us to compare our greatness to other's. It is our business to let vitality flow through us into the world. I really need to remember this. Thank you for it.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      11 years ago from India

      Look forward to that, Bruce!

    • Bruce Elkin profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Elkin 

      11 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Too true, Shalini. Learning to accept ourselves and love ourselves, just as we are is a key to creating a rich, yet simple and successful life. Watch this space for a new hub about "Your Ordinary Self Is Enough". THanks for your comment.


    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      11 years ago from India

      Great very true! Most of us tend to put roadblocks when it comes to living to our full potential. If only we could love ourselves enough to let the greatness flow!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)