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What It Takes to be Great

This past weekend was the final four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Justin Moore, star player for Villanova, tore his Achilles in their last game of the final four and was unable to play in the finals against Kansas.

Moore has started 36 of 37 games for the Wildcats this season, averaging 15.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He’s a dynamic scorer and a quality defender, and his loss could have a huge impact on whether the Wildcats can take home their fourth national championship.

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright was asked how they were going to handle the loss of Justin Moore. Wright replied that Moore is a great player, but they have other great players on their team as well. All the players will have to step up and fulfill a different role than they had been accustomed to playing.

Wright elaborated on the makeup of the team and greatness. He said that anytime you have a great player, somebody else is having to play a different role than they might wish to play in order for that player to be great. What an incredible way of thinking. Such truth.

That is true not only in basketball but in leadership in the business world and in life in general. If anyone is great it is because there were other people around them playing a different role and sacrificing themselves for that person to be great. You’re not the only great one, and others are giving their best in another role so that together you can accomplish much.

That means that every single person on the team has to accept individual roles and align themselves with the overall purpose of the team. This is nothing short of selflessness. It’s the reason why some skilled teams win and others lose. It is the reason why some businesses with many resources excel and others struggle. Sometimes you will obviously shine, sometimes you will help someone else shine, but your goal is the same—to work together and win as a team. That’s how greatness happens.

It boils down to a couple of critical traits: humility and gratitude. It means that a great player is humble and realizes that he or she can only be truly great as others sacrifice themselves and play a role that perhaps is not their first choice to allow them to succeed and build the team. It means that a truly great player is grateful. Gratitude to his/her team is primary.

Let’s hear it again: “Any time you have a great player, somebody else is having to play a different role for him to be great.” – Head Coach Jay Wright

If you are great, if you are the star, it’s not your ability alone. Someone else, very likely just as capable as you if he/she had your opportunity, is playing a different role and sacrificing so that you can be where you are. Cultivate humility and gratitude, the evidence of true greatness. Tell someone “thank you” today. Recognize their part in your success.

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