Are YOU Destined For Greatness?

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

Jane Wagner (writer, director, producer).

Mercy recently turned twenty-five and she told me that she’s experiencing a ¼-life crisis. I didn’t know such a thing existed!

She’s not happy at work and knows she’s meant for something “great.”

She just doesn’t know what it is.

And that’s the enduring question – what makes life “great?” What would YOU have to do to achieve greatness?

Greatness is a “funny” thing. . .

Mary Lou Retton had her moment of greatness in the 1984 Olympics here in Los Angeles when she won five medals. She became an overnight sensation and was offered an array of attractive commercial opportunities.

There were aspects to her greatness that were not “great.” She readily admitted years later that, “Finding my own voice was difficult and I still struggle with it. But I’m getting better. When that physicality is gone and the title is gone, you have to find who you are. I’m really still trying to find that out. It’s a journey, it’s a lifetime process.”

Soccer star Landon Donovan took a three-month break from his professional career in 2013 to prioritize his mental health. He did so because he realized, “Our problem is we wrap our identity around what we do and it becomes who we are, so you see a lot of former athletes struggle with this, a lot of athletes that are no longer being recognized for what they did on the soccer field. They’re like ‘Well, what am I now? I don’t have this sport anymore.’”


Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was a war-hero fighter pilot and an MIT rocket scientist. He was a lot of impressive things, and then he went to the moon, and that’s all people knew him for.

He’s 91-years-old and he went to the moon when he was 39.

A few years back, in a GQ interview, Buzz recalled how his father wanted him to be brave and brilliant. So, he became what his father wanted him to be – West Point grad, fighter pilot, decorated war hero. He later went on to get a doctorate in rocket science from MIT.

NASA took notice and in 1966 in Gemini XII, he beat the record for longest space-walk ever attempted – two hours and twenty-nine minutes.

Then came Apollo 11, and he walked on the moon.

His father’s reaction?  “The second man to walk on the moon? Number two?”

What is a life of greatness??

In an interview with Tahl Raz, Jonathan Fields, author of, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, talked about finding one’s life purpose. Here’s what he said –

“Purpose” becomes this huge, crippling thing because many people in the personal development world say, “Step one is you’ve got to identify your life purpose, and then you can take action on it and know you’re doing the right things for the right reasons.”

To me, a much more intelligent way is to say, “Ok, what are the qualities of working life that allow me to come alive? Who are the people I love to be around to serve, to serve under, to serve with? What is the mission of the type of organization that really vibes with me? What are the specific types of tasks, activities and processes that allow me to become absorbed and enter that ‘state of flow?’”

When you break it down into these categories, it becomes much easier to look at the world of opportunities before you. It’s a much more mobilizing tool – a much more practical and effective tool.

It starts to get you doing work that’s most aligned with the things in your life that allow you to come alive. Through doing that work, over a period of years and maybe decades, maybe a much bigger purpose will become revealed.

The week after I turned twenty-five, I set off for the remote Pacific island of Weno in the Chuuk Lagoon of Micronesia. I had volunteered to teach high school.

It was before Google Maps and so I had absolutely no idea where I was going. On a Rand McNally map it was a pin dot.

I thought my life would be a series of grand adventures – but life got in the way and while I had adventures, they weren’t always grand in the ways I’d imagined.

“I know I’m meant for great things.” I’m moved by Mercy’s declaration. And here’s what I told her – if you think you’re meant for great things, then answer these questions:

  • What makes great things “great” for you?
  • Why do you want these great things?
  • How will your life be better after doing these great things?
  • How will your slice of the world be better?
  • What are you prepared to do to bring to life these great things?
  • What are you prepared to sacrifice for these great things?

But for all out failure to discover what we want,

we do in the end discover one thing:

we discover that the only thing in life that is worth doing is to search.

Thomas Merton

now THAT’S the business of confidence!

30 Quotes For a 30th Birthday!


It is generally understood among bloggers that an all-quote posting is a “cheat” as it is the easiest of writings. Now that I’ve made that acknowledgement, here is MY all-quote posting!


Last month my niece Mary celebrated her 30th birthday. I was flummoxed as to how to celebrate her milestone. Back in June my goddaughter Clare, who is friends with Mary, celebrated her 30th birthday and for her celebration I offered a listing of the “30 Things I Know For Certain.” In the span of two months, I haven’t learned an additional 30 new things for certain and so I’ve turned to quotes.


Mary is a collector of quotes – one of the things we have in common. I decided to gift her with the 30 quotes that I am guided by as I navigate life. So, yes, I know these 30 quotes to be true for certain, though you may not know that based on some of the decisions I’ve made and continue to make!


But here’s what I do know – embrace these flashes of truth and the next 30 years will be glorious – which is my wish for Mary and for all of you who read this posting!


  1. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain

And finding that “why” may take more than 30 years!


  1. Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.Howard Thurman

There is a world of difference between “living” and “coming alive.”


  1. 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Mark Twain

That’s not to say you won’t have some disappointment by what you did – but – Twain is right on this.


  1. You must not ever give anyone else the responsibility for your life.       Mary Oliver

Including your parents.


  1. And you ask, “What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?       Erin Hanson

Now there’s a scary thought – what if you succeed?


  1. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.          Steve Jobs

Imagine all that would not have been if he had!


  1. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.           George Bernard Shaw

There’s a difference between being a professional and an artist.


  1. If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.    Maya Angelou

You want to be amazing, yes?


  1. When we die and we go to Heaven, and we meet our Maker, our Maker is not going to say to us, “Why didn’t you become a messiah? Why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such?”  The only thing we’re going to be asked is, “Why didn’t you become YOU?”                                           Eli Wiesel

Becoming YOU – that’s what it means to become amazing.


  1. Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, “What does this person really want— and what will they do to keep from getting it?”                   William Perry

Ponder that.


  1. He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love In The Time Of Cholera

A life-giving life, indeed!


  1. Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.              Brian Tracy

We live in a time when talk is cheap – but words have magic.


  1. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.                   Philo of Alexandria

I’ve yet to meet the person who isn’t fighting some battle.


  1. If you want to impress people, talk about your successes. But if you want to impact people, talk about your failures.                                                   John Maxwell

Real vulnerability comes from strength and creates connection.


  1. Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.    Alice Waters

Or as they say in Yap, “Hosachigachig!”


  1. A student asked Soen Nakagawa during a meditation retreat, “I am very discouraged. What should I do?” Soen replied, “Encourage others.”                       from Essential Zen

Perhaps the easiest of human acts.


  1. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou

Why do so many forget this?


  1. Every single job I got in Hollywood was based on knowing someone. Here’s a piece of advice: Don’t try finding people who can help you. Find people you can help.             Lewis Teague – Cujo / director

From a horror film comes hearty truth.


  1. All real living is meeting.                     Martin Buber

And so, there is no need to be afraid.


  1. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something great for someone.        Arielle Jackson

Sigh a sigh of relief!



  1. The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.Henry Miller

Which is why Anais Nin loved him.


  1. I can’t go back to yesterday — because I was a different person then.           Lewis Carroll

Happy present! Happy future!


  1. Am I a success or a failure?” is not a very useful question. It is better to ask “what am I learning?”  Bob Sutton

A great question from the man who wrote the book, “The No Asshole Rule.”


  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt

Easy to rob yourself blind.


  1. Just because you’ve gotten accustomed to behaving in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Maybe it’s time to get unstuck.                         Twyla Tharp

Wisdom from a goddess.

  1. The business of life is the acquisition of memories. Carson / Downton Abbey

And cherishing them.


  1. There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.             Einstein

He really was a genius.


  1. There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.                Alexander Woollcott

Although many days I might want to argue with this truth.


  1. The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love. Henry Miller

And in the end – as in the beginning – love is all there is. . .


  1. Why not? Why not you? Why not now? Aslan / “The Chronicles of Narnia

What’s your answer?



I thank you God for this most amazing day,

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,

and for the blue dream of sky

and for everything which is natural,

which is infinite,

which is yes.

e.e. cummings