Jim Collins opened his book Good to Great with the statement, “Good is the enemy of great.” He explained that when we have good schools, good businesses and good government, we tend to accept that level of quality as sufficient. He went on to observe: “Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is so easy to settle for a good life.”
Spending time with my family in Scotland the last few weeks, I’ve found myself reflecting on how I chose such a different life to all of them.
I have 4 brothers who are all married with children. They all live within a mile radius of the family home we grew up in, and run local businesses (very successfully). None of them went to University, nor have they ever lived away from the town we grew up in.
I left home at 18 to go to University 2 hours north of our hometown, then moved to Glasgow for 3 years before leaving Scotland to set up a life in Australia. In the 16 years I have been here, I have lived in Sydney, Byron Bay, Melbourne and Brisbane.
When I was moving to Australia, a very close friend of mine said to me “I don’t understand why you need to move away from home Fiona. But I hope you find what you are looking for, in Australia.”
The truth is I had no idea what I was looking for – I just knew my future belonged outside of Scotland and my hometown, and that I was making a choice to pursue that future, hoping it would lead not just to a good life, but a great life.
The question of what people believe makes a great life intrigues me. For some it encompasses financial success; for others it’s all about family ties; for many more having a rewarding career will be a major contributing factor. And for a few, a great life will mean they have changed the world in some way.
The important point, and part of what I believe Jim Collins was saying, is that to live a great life you have to do so consciously. It’s not enough to settle for what others decide is a good life. You must decide what you want from life, and what a great life looks like for YOU. Then you need to do everything in your power to make it happen.
It’s easy to float through your life – I encourage you instead to grab it by the horns and take control of it.
PS Let’s get you started on having a great career – join me in Sydney and Brisbane in May for my signature workshop and I promise to help you Get What You Want At Work. Only a few spaces remain for each city. Click here to book your ticket.