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Article Title:
Take A Stand for Your Own Greatness

Article Description:
20 years ago, I took an instructor's course to learn how to 
help people create what matters most.  Despite my shyness and 
inexperience in such work, the course was extraordinary. 

Additional Article Information:
851 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Apr 20 11:12:54 EDT 2006

Written By:     Bruce Elkin
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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Take A Stand for Your Own Greatness
Copyright © 2006 Bruce Elkin
Personal Life Coaching Services

20 years ago, I took an instructor's course to learn how to 
help people create what matters most.  Despite my shyness and 
inexperience in such work, the course was extraordinary.  

We worked late into the evening then bounced up next morning to 
start again.  We worked with creative tension.  We watched Martin 
Luther King's "I have a dream!" speech.  We coached each other in 
creating what mattered.  

I loved it all—except for one exercise.

At the end of day two, our facilitator Kallenn asked us to stand 
and declare, "I take a stand for my own greatness."  He passed 
the mike to a woman in front.  She popped up, and proudly 
proclaimed her greatness.  

I sat six rows back, my gut tying itself into a thick, painful 

I did not know why I didn't want to do it.  But I didn't.  When 
my turn came, I hauled myself up and mumbled the words, but I 
felt like a stranger to my own heart.

Instead of going for dinner, I sat overlooking the lake, and 
scribbled in my journal.  I was confused.  I wasn't sure what 
greatness was, nor that I had any to stand up for.  

As I dug deeper, I discovered I was angry about not practicing 
what I preached.  An ex-teacher and leadership coach, I'd run a 
mountaineering school in the Rockies for six years.  However, I'd 
drifted through my last two years then, then left, dispirited.  
I realized I didn't feel greatness because I'd let my spirit's 
flame burn too low.

I wanted to feel greatness.  But, I feared admitting it, I might 
have to stretch for something out of reach.  Besides, who was I 
to proclaim greatness?


I sat, watching the lake and pondering my questions.  When I went 
back to class, I was aware of my contradictions, but somehow okay 
with them.  

I dove into the work.  I applied myself with vigor.  I struggled 
to grow.  Slowly, I felt a shift.  Something opened in me.  As my 
vision for my life and work became clearer, I felt my inner flame 
sputter to life.  

At the end of the course, Kallenn asked us each to make a closing 
remark.  When I faced the group, I felt nervous, yet excited.  

"Two days ago," I said, "I told you I took a stand for my own 
greatness, but I lied.  I didn't feel greatness.  Since then, 
I've realized greatness is not about ego, or power.  It is about 
bringing into the world what truly matters to me.  Greatness, I 
see now, is in us all, but unacknowledged, it dies.  Realizing 
this, I can now say honestly, "I do take a stand for my own 

As I sat down, I felt like I owned my own heart.


Since then, I've helped thousands learn to create what matters 
most.  And because I work at expressing greatness, I know why 
it is so difficult, at times, to do.

We often fail to acknowledge our greatness for fear of what 
others might say.  Denying our hearts, we invest our energy in 
lesser things.  We withdraw from our own power.  But not offering 
our gifts to the world is riskier than putting them out. 

Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is that we are 
powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that 
most frightens us.  We ask ourselves ‘who am I to be brilliant, 
gorgeous, talent, fabulous?'  Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the 

Accepting our greatness, we live into our authentic power.  By 
creating what we love, we give gifts only we can give.  By 
contributing to community, our lives become meaningful.  By 
bringing greatness into the world, we leave the planet better 
for our presence.


"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening," 
Martha Graham told a young dancer, "that is translated through 
you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of 
time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will 
never exist through any other medium and it will be lost."

It is not our business to judge how good our gifts are, nor how 
valuable.  It is not for us to compare our greatness to other's. 
It is our business to let vitality flow through us into the 
world.  We need to keep the flame of our creative spirit bright.

I haven't always done so.  But when my flame flickers, I recall 
how empowered I felt taking a stand for my own greatness, and how 
vital I feel when I create what matters.  That opens me, again, 
to the possibility that lies. undiscovered, all around me.  If 
I'm tempted to hold back, to ignore my greatness, I recall 
Goethe's couplet:

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

Remembering that my greatness is unique, I choose to give my 
gifts to the world, and let whatever happens happen.  

Bruce Elkin is a 20-year life coach.  He works with high 
potential people who are stuck, stalled, or drifting.  He 
helps you create what matters-in spite of problems or obstacles. 
* Get his new ebook Emotional Mastery: Manage Your Moods and 
Create What Matters Most—With Whatever Life Gives You! at:



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