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Greater Than Yourself: A Success Approach Whose Time Has Come

Paradox Of GreatnessWhen my third book, Greater Than Yourself, was published in 2009, it seemed to many that the world was going to hell in the proverbial hand basket.

Wall Street had melted down, the market had crashed, and folks were losing their homes and getting laid off in the process.

Then I came along with a book that said, in essence, the surest way to success is to focus on helping others to be more successful than you.

For people in survival and self-preservation mode, that wasn’t an easy message to hear. It seemed counter-intuitive at best, flat-out ridiculous at worst.

Nonetheless, many people did listen. They did get it, and they began to take on GTY (Greater Than Yourself) Projects of their own by finding someone to boost up.

When faced with the deepest of personal threats and challenges, those visionary GTY leaders invested their time, love, wisdom, coaching, and connections in other people–and garnered great self-fulfillment in the process.

Six years after GTY’s publication, we still have plenty of challenges to go around, but–I’m gratified to say–people seem to be more receptive than ever to the Greater Than Yourself approach.

Maybe the book was a little ahead of the curve, but I believe that the act of raising others up to be even more successful than you are is an approach whose time has come.

This video will give you a quick overview of the idea:

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What do you think?

Are you ready to take on a GTY Project of your own?


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  1. Kevin JaPaul says:

    Work cultures in my experience expect a reward/recognition to be realized for a given action. So the mere thought of “volunteering” your ideas/thoughts should be met with caution as there is no “benefit” to you. However the idea that one’s impact does not need to be measured/tracked enables stronger work cultures as it is based from a place of love than an individual’s own success. I have started to impart my knowledge and experience to enhance the experiences of others both on my team and colleagues throughout the organization. Thanks Steve as your perspective inspires change.

    • It can be challenging to get people to help with no strings attached in a quid pro quo culture (as many, if not most, are). But that’s why we call it Extreme Leadership. Great work, Kevin. Keep us posted on how you’re doing with the GTY approach.

  2. Dick Nettell says:

    Steve, you know I drank the ” koolaid” years ago.
    That being said I am more convinced than ever of this premise. True leaders treat people the way they need to be treated to do their best work. In order to do this you need to first understand what drives folks, shut up long enough to listen and then pull back your ego so you can do what is truly best for them.
    Do this and you’ll grab people by the heart and the rest of them comes along for the ride……
    Right, my friend?

  3. Yes, I take the challange. I have a BIG IMAGE on the side of my bed with the letters GTY. I want to see my staff being better than myself. I want to do with them what I needed when I was starting: mentoring. So yes, I am accomplishing my 2015 resolution. Make them greater than yourself.

  4. After discovering GTY through a class at Otterbein University several years ago, I was inspired to lead a GTY book club for my leadership team at work (and to reach out to you, Steve!). It was transformational, both individually and for us as a team! Now, it’s the first thing I lead with as I engage clients of my own. Such a simple story with such a profound message. Not everyone takes on a project but, for those who do, the impact is very real; discovery and growth for their project person and themselves. The ripples are endless.
    As to your question…has the time come for GTY? If not now, when?

  5. Dave Cooper says:

    I agree with Timothy in that I was surprised that GTY did not seem to gain the momentum of the Radical Leap & Edge. As a leadership coach GTY has been my roadmap. Without it I doubt that I could have ‘street cred’ with my colleagues when they attending my training and coaching sessions.

    The real excitement for me though in using the GTY approach is how much better i have become both as a person and at my role in my company. GTY truly is a WIN/WIN approach!

    • I’d love to hear some or your GTY coaching success stories, Dave!

      • Dave Cooper says:

        I have been very fortunate to have been promoted a few times within my company over the past few years. What has been really exciting is to see some of my GTY colleagues fill in my previous roles who are hitting consistent home runs! There is something really cool about seeing people you care about taking their game to the next level and know that in some small way you were a part of it!

  6. Timothy Brensel says:

    Steve, I’ve been wondering why GTY went so quiet shortly after the book came out. I’ve used it to great success (you’ve seen one of the feedback emails I received on Leap Lovers) and believe it is the natural outcome of a LEAP culture.
    For those reading, if you have never done a project like this, let me give you a few incentives to do so. First, you will get a reputation. If you consistently invest yourself in others, people of healthy ambition will flock to you. Read carefully. People with healthy ambition will flock to you. These are the folks you want to have on your side. They want to put forth an effort to grow. Beyond the reputation, you will grow. The act of giving so much to improve another requires that we improve our own skills along the way. Teaching is learning.
    So give it a shot. Don’t give in to the voices of doubt and fear that try to stop you from making a difference. Mediocrity whispers in everyone’s ear. Ignore it. Dare to matter to the people around you.