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Top 7 Traits of Greatness

By Denise Corcoran

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We are all born with the potential for greatness. There are no exceptions. Yet most people realize less than 10% percent of their potential, while a small handful of others rise to extraordinary heights and become legends in their own rights.

* What makes great achievers great?

* What propels them to defy the odds and become legends in their own right?

* How can you unlock your greatness?

Read the autobiographies of great achievers in any field - athletes, entrepreneurs, business leaders – and there is one great common denominator. They know that success comes from the inside out.

External greatness derives from an internal source. It is not a goal you achieve. Rather it is a state of mind. An inner game where the only way you can claim victory is to elevate your mind.

"There are no ordinary people, just ordinary minds."

Denise Corcoran

Through the tools of NLP (NeuroLinguistics Programming) and modeling, I have isolated the following 7 differences – the common inner game -- that propels each achiever to greatness. Learn and model their inner game, and you will expand your own playing field and accelerate your business success a thousand fold.


    The common thread among great business achievers is that success is not their ultimate goal. They build causes; not businesses. They are crusaders, propelled by a vision to make the world a much better place, with conviction and perseverance to make it happen.

    “I was worth about over a million dollars when I was twenty-three; over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four; over a hundred million dollars when I was twenty-five and it wasn't that important because I never did it for the money.” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

    • What is your compelling “why” for building your business?
    • What passionate cause are you willing to fight for?
    • In what ways is your business a “vehicle” to make this world a better place?


    In NLP modeling, values are often the unconscious motivators that shape your future and drive your actions and behavior. Every great achiever is fanatical about the values for which their businesses stand.

    Anita Roddick – CEO, multi-billion dollar franchise, The Body Shop – is one of the world’s most outspoken, controversial, and successful entrepreneurs of the age. Her passion for social and environmental causes – the basis for every decision she makes – reminds us that your can create profits with principles and “you don’t need to lose your soul to achieve success.”

    • What core values does your business stand for?
    • What business goals or actions are out of integrity with your core values?
    • How can your core values differentiate your business in the marketplace?


    Your beliefs form your inner “rules” in how you play the “game.” Great achievers have inner “rule books” or beliefs that enhance their success, while most people have beliefs that keep them playing small.

    For example, great achievers are typically rebel-thinkers. They believe that “rules are made to be broken.” Warren Buffet – the second wealthiest individual in the world – went against the norm by picking companies/stock based on their business value, rather than their stock value.

    • What beliefs about yourself, what’s possible or how to play the “game” hinder your success?
    • What “rules” (inner or outer) must you break to shift your thinking?
    • Do you believe you were built for greatness?


    True greatness is less about the destination, and more about the journey. Read the autobiography of any great achiever, and you will find a story about defying the odds, overcoming the greatest of challenges, journeying on roads less traveled.

    Walt Disney was a high school drop out who suffered bankruptcy, risked it all 4 times and suffered repeated financial and business disasters, yet persevered with faith and determination. If you want to reach a different destination, you must travel a different journey.

    • How might your greatest challenges be the stepping stones to playing a much bigger business game?
    • To what outside circumstances do you currently give away your power?
    • Where are you giving less than 110% to your business goals? What attitudes or behaviors must you change to realize a different outcome?


    Success is a decision. Leadership is a decision. The word “decide” comes from the Latin word “decidare” – meaning “to cut off all other possibilities.” Every great achiever makes a decision about the future they want to create.

    Despite dyslexia and not doing well in school, multi-billionaire and CEO, Virgin Company, Richard Branson, decided early on that he would make his mark in business. John F. Kennedy, Jr., made a decision – without knowing how - that we would send a man to the moon during his presidency.

    • What decisions are you currently making about your business success?
    • How might wishing and hoping be holding you back?
    • What will it take to cut off all other possibilities to realize your desired business destiny?


    Behind every extraordinary achievement is the discipline of daily success habits with huge payoffs over time. Any Olympic athlete will tell you about his/her days being filled with endless hours of hard work and practice. It is rare that success is overnight. Rather it is the culmination of consistent small steps over time.

    Warren Buffet plays monopoly for endless hours and memorizes over 200 annual reports a year. Donald Trump reads the newspapers by 6 am every morning.

    • What current habits get in the way of your business success?
    • What new habits must your cultivate instead?
    • If one of your heroes/heroines was running your business, what consistent daily actions would they take to achieve success?


    How you “see” and identify yourself are the single most powerful influences on your future success. Great achievers, at some point, awaken to their true nature.

    While they learn from their past, they do not let the past define them. Nor do they let their current circumstances dictate their future. It is their constant quest to reinvent themselves, their lives and their businesses that catapult them above the rest.

    Despite an early life of abuse and poverty, Oprah Winfrey knew that she was destined for greatness. The breadth and depth of her personal evolution – including, humanitarian, 34 time Emmy winner, chairman of Harpo Entertainment, outstanding actress, political lobbyist and most successful woman in TV history – reminds us of our own boundless potential to become more than we currently are.

    • How do you let your past define you and your business success?
    • What pivotal moment in your life has had the greatest impact on your self-identity?
    • If you were to write a script of who you want to become, how would that script read?

Denise Corcoran - CEO, The Empowered Business (tm) - assists CEOs, executives and business owners in taking a quantum leap from the ordinary to extraordinary … from unrealized dreams to mastering their destiny … from slow growth to exponential results. A business & leadership coach, growth strategist and Master NLP Practioner, Denise's unique "inside out" approach can help you and your organization transform untapped potential into profits and results.

Subscribe to her monthly ezine - The Empowered Business (tm) - and learn the legendary mindset, strategy and performance secrets of top business achievers.


Article Submitted On: August 04, 2007