Good to Great: Learning How to Generate Greatness

What is greatness? Lewis Howes in his new book, School of Greatness, suggests that

“Greatness is the result of visionaries who persevere, focus, believe, and prepare. It is a habit, not a birthright.

As creators, a lot of us wonder what the difference is between people like Lewis and ourselves. We say things like, “Oh, it’s his good looks.” or maybe “It’s because he’s well connected as an athlete”. However, I think these are more of excuses of why we aren’t doing better ourselves vs why he’s doing so well. Yes, he has those things working for him. However, that isn’t the whole story.

The truth is that he’s gone from good to great… and he continues to do that daily.

When I first wanted to strike out on my own, I wondered about how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got to where they’re at. Mind you, this is back in high school and early college before I became too influenced by formal education. I seriously thought that they were capable of doing this because of their elite tech making powers. However, as I later would come to find out, this simply is just a part of the recipe.

The truth of the matter is, we all have this greatness in us. It’s simply the fact that many don’t know how to tap into this greatness. And it’s really not as simple as just saying “Oh, you need to try something out of your comfort zone.” Again, that’s only part of the recipe too.

At the end of this post, I think you’ll get a good grasp on what it entails to be a successful big name creator.

It’s All About Leadership

When we think about the differences between success stories like Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss, and Gary Vaynerchuk, we might have various thoughts about why they’ve all been able to get to the various levels of success that they have. Perhaps we simply say they were lucky. Or perhaps we realize that they’ve been able to follow a plan (knowingly or unknowingly) that has taken them to where they are.


When you think about these individuals, we realize that they have something in common besides simply being successful. It’s that when called to step up, they all have. Pat Flynn got over his speaking issues and has become not only a podcaster, but a successful conference speaker. Lewis literally got off the couch and started doing webinars. Tim didn’t end with just his one book, he did three. And Gary didn’t stop at doing liquor related projects, he’s actually grown Vaynermedia.

All of these acts could simply be described as them Stepping Up. They could have easily backed up and just done what they were comfortable with, but instead they’ve risen to the challenge again and again.

They have gone from Good to Great.

And, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert), doing that is going to take a little bit of Leadership.

How Do You Compare?

To become someone that’s great, we need to realize that there are 5 levels of leadership. Here’s a brief description of each:

Level 1: A highly capable person who is able to give to others through their knowledge, skills, and other good work habits.

Level 2: A contributing team member who uses their talents for the success of the group.

Level 3: A competent manager who understands basic organization of people and resources and is able to meet objectives and goals.

Level 4: An effective leader that is able to stimulate his followers to achieving a particular vision. However, they tend to do so for personal gains.

Level 5: An effective leader who not only gets his followers to achieve, but does so through humility and professional will. They care about the team and their followers.

Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s think about our examples again: Pat, Lewis, Tim, and Gary.

They all have been able to achieve themselves. They’ve all helped thousands of other people achieve. And, I would say that most of them honestly care about their fan base. So… yeah, they’re all Level 5 Leaders.

Furthermore, I’d say that the following could describe them even more:

  • They talk about their team, their company, their fan base more than they talk about themselves.
  • Not only do they set high standards for themselves, they set high standards for everyone around them.
  • They all would rather stretch themselves and those around them when it comes to challenges vs complaining about challenges.
  • They have ambition for their company and fan base. They want their fans and friends to help contribute to what they’ve started. (However, they’re not completely upset if they don’t want to come for the ride.)

How to go from Good to Great

Well, first off, we should remember that we’re not automatically Great. Again, it’s something that takes dedication and work to achieve. However, if you are wanting to have mass affect on your followers and get to a Level 5 Leader, here are some tactics to help you get there:

People are first, strategy is second. If we’re talking about customers and fans, it’s important to deliver what they want. Don’t produce something that isn’t wanted. You’d simply be wasting your own time. Once you have a viable product and have some people interested in your work, think about how you can promote some of your biggest fans to help work the machine. As you give off jobs that you once had to do yourself (based on your help’s strengths, of course) then you can add more products and/or ways of reaching more potential fans.

Facts and Faith. Simply be aware that as creators, we naturally have great imaginations. We’re always wondering “what if?”. However, that doesn’t lend us much to be a leader. I mean, it could help us be great motivational speakers, and if that’s all we’re wanting to be, that’s fine. However, true Level 5 Leaders have followers that have the same results and to help those people get results, we need to feet on the ground as well as our heads in the sky. (I think Pat does a great job of this one by showing his Monthly Income Report.)

Build Up to Break Through. It’s important to know that as a creator, the beginning is always going to be difficult and labor intensive on our parts. But, as we continue to meet the needs of our small team, customers, and our fans, then we’re building momentum. (If you have an online presence, traffic is a good indicator of this momentum.) Other momentum makers are improving ourselves (so we can stay on the cutting edge of our industry), and actually succeeding. When we have these things and show how well we’re doing, we create more belief with our followers.

Choose Simple Over Complex. Find out what you do well and play to those strengths. If you can’t do something, don’t try to do it until you find or hire help for it. If you’re jack of many trades like myself, then only focus on things that you really enjoy doing. Stay to your strengths, as we can work on our weaknesses but we’ll never get much with them. It’s all about eliminating what you don’t do well and concentrating on what you do. (If we use Gary Vee as an example, we know that he could be doing all of his social media stuff like a champ – but he’s hired people to do that stuff so he can focus on business development.)

An easy way to remember how to keep things simple is to focus on on three things:

  1. Is it what I’m good at.
  2. Does it make economical sense to do this?
  3. Will it excite my followers? Will it stir their passion?

If you’re able to answer yes for all three things, then it’s something you should consider doing.

Strategically Use Technology. As a creator, we want to limit ourselves as consumers. We all know how technology gives us the opportunity to consume information at a faster and faster rate every day. However, we need to learn how to leverage that same technology to get our message out there. It’s ok to be a first user if you think a technology is going to be widely used. (In fact, Gary Vee does exactly this. He believes that the sooner you get on a new technology, the less noise you have to deal with.) However, on the other hand, you can’t go from tech to tech to tech and expect your followers to be able to do the same. Pick something, stick with it, and test new technology out before you commit to it.

Develop a Culture of Discipline. Finally, a Level  5 leader wants to develop a culture of discipline simply because he or she doesn’t want to have to baby sit their fans and/or team. If you’re teaching people to do something, you want them to be able to do things and have their own results. If you have a team that is self disciplined, then you won’t have to redo their work over.

On top of having disciplined people around us, we also want to make sure that we have disciplined thought. Meaning, we need to be thinking continually about the right things. Once we have a product(s), customers, and perhaps a team, we want to make sure that our thoughts are based on helping them be the best that they can be in what they’re doing. On top of that, we also need to be thinking about other ways of building our influence.

Only when we have disciplined thought can we have disciplined action. Do things that help you and your business grow. Don’t do things that don’t.


Hopefully this will help you focus on what you need to do to get to a higher level with your work. Remember, it wasn’t luck that got the big names where they were. It was focusing on the big picture and making sure that what they did positively affected those around them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about any strategies you’ve used to be more influential with your fans, customers, and/or team members. Do you see this strategy as being part of a Level 5 Leader? If it isn’t, can you think of anything you could do with that strategy to make it more impactful? (If you don’t know, feel free to ask.) Chime in below!