Don’t Overthink Greatness


[This is a post by Jimmy Burgess. He was a millionaire by 35, lost it all and ended up in bankruptcy. He bounced back quickly financially, but it was the bounce back that happened physically, relationally and spiritually that led him to write the book What Just Happened? How To Bounce Back In Life So You Can Do More, Have More, and Be More. He now inspires and equips family men to create lifestyle businesses they love. You can connect with Jimmy on Twitter.]

Many times in life we make things more difficult than they really are. We think there is some magic formula that successful people follow. We think success and purpose are only for the chosen few among us. I have found this to be completely false. The difference is whether we believe that each of us has greatness inside us. What do you believe? Do you realize how unique and special you are? Do you realize that the gifts you have would benefit others?

Secret #1: Do What You Love

You will never meet someone great who doesn’t love what they do and have a natural ability in that area. What are you naturally good at that no one ever had to teach you how to do? What are you passionate about? What would you do for free if money wasn’t an issue? Whatever that is for you…Here’s Secret #1… DO THAT! Study whatever that is for you so that you can be great. Work hard at this and you will see greatness appear. The funny thing is that if you do what you love, then it doesn’t even seem like work. You wake up excited to get started and you hate to see the day end because you are having a blast doing what you love. If you aren’t sure how to make a living doing what you love, simply Google, “How to make money doing…….”

I love to inspire others and to speak publicly. I never had stage fright. As a matter of fact, I remember standing on a stage and having one sentence to say at my elementary school play. As I walked off that stage I glanced at the audience and knew I had found my passion. What was it that you loved doing the first time you did it? Do that, and greatness will come.

Secret #2: Avoid Doing What You Hate Doing

What are you doing daily that you hate? What are you doing daily that you know you are not good at doing? Whatever that is for you…Here’s Secret #2…DON’T DO THAT! If you wonder why you are frustrated all the time, it may be because you are doing the complete opposite of what you were gifted to do. You may not be able to leave that job you hate tomorrow. We all have obligations. However, unless you do something different today to build toward change, then your future will be the same as your present. Begin to study what you love. Read about what you love. Gain the skills in the area that you love and a time will come when you can transition into the life you dream of having.

Quit Following the Crowd

Most people follow the crowd. They take a job everybody thinks they should take. They work forty years without any passion for their work and then they die. You know in your heart that there is more to life than just existing. In order to be great and to leave a legacy that you are proud to leave, you must pursue your passion. You must do what you were created to do. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

Questions: What type of work do you love to do? How can you begin to move into those areas?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Hey, secret number 2 is key. If you hate doing something that you should put down everything until you have corrected that problem. Yet most of us go through life allowing our hate to control the way we live.

    • Thanks for the comment Jamie. I agree. Our love or hate of the work we do spills over into all areas of our life. When I love what I do, my entire life improves. From family to finances, everything gets better. By the way, I really like what you are doing on your blog.

  • I just watched the movie, “City of Ember” yesterday. Without going into all the details, everyone goes through “Assignment Day” where they randomly pick their lifetime career from a bag. Some were excited, and some were not. The two main characters were not. They ended up trading jobs, making one excited. The other was less depressed, but liked the new job better than the other.

    There are people today that might as well have picked their jobs out of a hat. They become tied down with obligation and lose their desires.

    I love working with websites and content creation, so I’m working on establishing things in my “free time” so that it can start to provide adequate income.

    • Good for you Joshua. I have never met anyone that regretted chasing their dream or doing something they loved.

  • Floyd

    Good post. I’m with you on thinking there was some secret to success, even scratched my head when I asked successful people what it was after having them scratch their heads in an unknowing way. It took time, but I did figure it out; all the things you said with an unending supply of perseverance.

    I appreciate the fact that you don’t try to measure success by a number, it’s measured over a lifetime of truly living. Well done, sir.

    • Thanks Floyd. For a large part of my life I did measure my success by a number. I did succeed by the world’s standards. However, it didn’t bring me happiness. Actually, my pursuit of that “number” almost destroyed all the other areas of my life. It took me losing everything money could buy in order to have and appreciate all the things money couldn’t buy. Going bankrupt really changed my life for the better (as crazy as that sounds).

  • I often run into this problem when I sit down to write. I can’t get started because I over think it and want to write something “great”. How do I get over it? I simple start putting words on the paper and stop worrying about “greatness”.

    • I get frozen by wanting something to be perfect from time to time as well. I have found action to be the best way to overcome this as well. By the way Caleb, I loved your post a month or so ago “Why You Should Care What’s Going on in Ukraine.”

      • Perfection is always a killer! Thanks for reading my post about why you should care about Ukraine. I hope you find some time this weekend to pray for the elections!

        • Done. My wife’s grandparents came to America after World War II. They spent most of the war in a German work camp. They had $3.50 when they got off the boat at Ellis Island. Their love of faith, family, and the value of hard work inspires be to be more of who I was created to be. Amazing people.

          • Wow, what an awesome story! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Before my father died in 2012 and the one thing he said was that he wished he had done so many more things. Life is too short, I don’t want to die with any regrets. Fabulous post JImmy!

  • Good point on #3. We all look around, see what others are doing, and try to do that or think we’re doing something wrong ourselves. Success isn’t defined by external achievements but internal alignment with our values and our own life desires. We can follow the crowd to find our own happiness. There are plenty of external distractions and our egos which want us to pursue things that don’t suit us or are meant for us.

    Being more conscious, intentional and introspective are some good ways to arrive at our passion and our destiny. Plus plenty of will and action! Good reflections, Jimmy!

    • Thanks Vishnu. I checked out your website and really liked your post “The not so secret law that trumps the law of attraction and magnetizes your heart’s desires.”

  • Great post Jim. You hit some great points here on doing what you love. I learned this the hard way by following what others thought was good for me. Excellent advice for all.

    • Thanks Lincoln. I think those of us that learn this the hard way end up appreciating it even more when we get in tune with our purpose and passion. That’s what happened for me.

  • Alan Allard

    Jimmy, great insights and suggestions for unleashing more of our greatness. The great thing about growing, changing and transforming is that there is never a ceiling on it. There is always more potential. In terms of doing what you love, I believe everyone can do what they love for work, they just aren’t willing to do what it takes.

    I believe that’s because they don’t realize what it’s costing them to keep doing what pays their bills but doesn’t feed them emotionally and “spiritually.” There is nothing like getting up in the morning to do something that you would pay someone just to be able to do it. It’s exhilarating.

    • These are great comments Alan. I can tell just by your post that you live a life that you love. Thanks for sharing.

  • All three are great points. All three are key. Love the fact that I can say I’m doing all three. Jimmy…thanks for reminding me of how blessed I am (smile).

    • Thanks Kent. I hope you had a great “Speak It Forward Boot Camp” earlier this month. I hate I had a family conflict. Planning to attend the one in November.

    • That’s great Kent!!! Keep doing great work.

  • Jimmy – excellent post – the point about considering your legacy is especially meaningful to me.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Jon. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

    • Thanks Jon for your comment. I love your blog and the way you tie leadership lessons to video games. Very unique and creative. Keep up the great work.

      • Just trying to put your 3 points to work! Thank you for your kind words.

  • Jimmy, thanks so much for sharing. Am more interested in the ‘Bounce’ book seeing I am just publishing one in that niche called, ‘Masterminding Your Comeback’. Cant wait to read your book on Kindle as I have scheduled it. Thanks for. Blessings.

    • Hello Lawrence,

      congratulations with a book! I’ll have to check it out. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

      • Most Definitely Dan, you will have to check the book out. I will keep you posted.

        • I will:) Sounds good.

          • Wow, so I got the ‘Bounce’ book…my initial reading shows that Jimmy is hilarious…and has a great message. I will be through by the weekend. *Looks up, smiles, thanking God that I am in great company*

            • I’m glad your enjoying it! Glad to be connected with great people like yourself as well:)

  • Wow, Jimmy, you have a wild life story!
    I love the idea of loving what you do. To be successful at anything – it takes such hard work that you can’t do it any other way.

    • Yes he does! Loving the work we do brings energy and fuel into our life. Thank you for sharing:)

  • It’s that second secret I think people tend to forget. I mean, how often do people do things they don’t like – I mean really don’t like. It’s ok to do boring things if it’s for a greater goal such as learning a new language or building up a skill. You have to do boring things usually to build up a skill over time. Yet, when you’re doing something you hate such as a bad job or a relationship you can’t stand, why stay in it? Get out! Life’s too short to do things you hate.

    • I totally agree, why stick with something we hate and has no long term benefits. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.