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Small Greatness

In my 20s, I wanted to greatness. Spiritual greatness! I wanted to be great. It consumed me, even if I didn’t know exactly what greatness meant, or what it was going to look like for me. What did God have in store for my life? Was I going to be a success or a failure? I became restless. Divinely discontent. It was hard to describe or identify it clearly, but it was felt deeply in my heart. I wanted to know God’s will for my life in a desperate way. Desperation in a good way, not in a bad way. I had to figure it out! It was gnawing at me, like it was some unknown code that I had to crack. Something that would allude me. I just assumed it had to be one big thing, one clear sign post that would be illuminated for me in someway. Would it always be a mystery?

Into the next decade, the 30s, I would continue to think about greatness, but not as much.

Bono has a great lyric that says “Ambition bites the nails of success.” Is ambition good or bad? Ambition might not be a bad thing, the verdict is still out, but I think intention is better. Some of the restlessness went away when I started to truly embrace intentionality.

I may not be defined by ambition, but I do have serious intention. I have very much excelled in and perfected the art of living an intentional life. Whether in great or small things, intentionality is built into everything I do. I think this is a great way to live.

I live my life different from everybody else (the masses). I choose to. I think differently. I see the world differently. I define success differently. I want different things for my life and for my family, that matter to me. I’m sure you do to. It’s not unique only to me.

Well into my 40s, I still think about greatness, but I’m not worried about it as much. Maybe it’s because I’m playing the long game. Another great way to live.

These words came to me yesterday: small greatness.

Some greatness is better than no greatness at all.

One of my life mottos has shifted to “Keep it small and keep it going.” I absolutely love this. This is important to me. I think that consistency might be one of the most overlooked virtues to be celebrated and/or appreciated in our world. Consistency can often be overlooked, because life moves fast. Until one day, you look back over the decades and see somebody’s track record. A consistent example is huge. A steady, stable person—staying the course, keeping their hand to the plow, staying creative and inspired, staying interested and engaged in life, staying humble and passionate, surrendering outcomes, living with absolute intention. It’s a beautiful thing. Perhaps this defines success for me.

“Keep it small and keep it going.” This is the advice that folk singer Pete Seeger gave to John Mellencamp. Pete Seger lived to 94, by the way. Johnny Cougar has certainly lived by this advice, and has for several decades. This is success to me. You have to keep it going in life, you have to keep moving forward. You have to keep on trucking. You have to stay consistent.

Without even realizing it, I see now how Saint Creative has been adopting this idea all along, since the beginning. Without even knowing it at times. I have kept it small and kept it going, in almost every area of my life. Work, family, church, serving, creative projects, friends.

Faithfulness. Loyalty. Dependability. Trustworthy. Authenticity. Simplicity. It all flows from this, and fits into this framework.

Content is not king. Consistency is king.

Here are a few more things I’ve learned on the subject:

Influence is earned, and there’s no shortcut to greatness.

Influence, to me,is not about numbers. It’s about depth.

My platform is my life. Your platform, is your life. It will, or at least it should, speak volumes. What will it say at the end of the day?

In life, you are either moving forward, moving backwards, or staying the same. There aren’t many other options, are there? Either way, you are always becoming.

Become great.