How to Recognize Greatness in Yourself and Others

I once saw a man in San Pedro, California pushing a shopping cart full of “this and that.” Things no rational person would want. I looked at him with disdain as I climbed from my Cadillac. He was unshaven, clothes tattered. The streets were littered with them. Jim is a successful motivational speaker. Learn how he can help you get unstuck and soar. Go>

I edged closer as he spoke with two police officers. Surely, he was begging for money rather than work for a living. He began to spray, polish, shine their police cruiser until the car sparkled. When they prepared to pay him, this man resisted until he had inspected his work …. again. The officers stood there quietly as he walked behind one corner of the cruiser and then the next.

I could then see he wasn’t homeless at all. This was his office on wheels. His cart was filled with aerosols, clean towels and cleansers. Oh, he very well may have also lived out of his cart somewhere. However, I could see a man once down on his luck working his way out of the mire. Learn about how our Leadership Now training can ignite your teams. Go>

I watched him clean cars and then stand back to inspect his work until the customer agreed he was excellent. When I discovered he wasn’t “homeless” but a business man who had created a niche I was ashamed to have judged this man from my precipice.

What I didn’t realize at that moment was that in a short period my whole life would be decimated leading me to live in my car. Change. It is the universal element molding us to choose forward or failure with a purpose.

It is a truism we can change our lives by our thoughts. It is also true if I leap from a building fervently exclaiming there is no gravity I haven't changed the reality that gravity exists nor the results of my beliefs however ardent.

Things happen.

I slept in parking lots, in fields. I showered at Bally's fitness where I worked as a fitness instructor. I ate two bean burritos a day. No one knew.

My tolerance was shifting.

Perhaps the greatest blessing of life is to create a circumstance where we lose what we prize. It is after all rather easy to create positive affirmations, to rise cheerful each morning when one knows where the next meal is coming from.

My depths of compelled reality created a shift in me. Whether it made me more ambitious I doubt. It did however, permit me to view people differently. I left my consulting business to teach elementary math and science. A path I would have never imagined.

One man had delved into depression following the death of his wife.

Here is my point. Everyone, I mean everyone the proverbial bum on the street, the high-class socialite has a story to tell. A person driving a Mercedes while indulging in ways detrimental to their soul and body isn't that different than a person pushing a shopping cart. Certainly, not all people on the streets are there because of life's happenstance. Neither are all those who live on the hill. I have lived on the hill countless times. In fact, I do now.

If we arrive with anything less than integrity what have, we gained that will last longer than the temporary sway of a crowd cheering what we have amassed? Once those things have dissipated like an aged athlete or has been actor or singer we are alone. And those once prized "things" have become rusted and useless as we.

Some people below the shadows of our stature are wholly authentic. God's, symbol for us to climb out of our pride into being rather than merely achieving. In the movie "All is Lost" there is a scene where all it takes is one person who cares without expectation. We have not earned the sunlight that touches our brow each day. Nor our next breath. We can give such blessings to one ... and then one more.

All charades no matter how shiny will invariably succumb to the pressures of a crowd that will bow to thing that will matter most. There is no avoiding it.

Jim Woods is an ardent believer that leadership is both a right and a responsibility. He is devoted to advancing the New Leadership in an age of Uncertainty. Jim is a successful leadership trainer and speaker and executive coach. He speaks on employee engagement, leadership and change management, leading instead of managing and customer service. He is an author, a former fifth grade and university teacher with an impressive resume. He is beloved by audiences. To schedule a speaking engagement with Jim please schedule an engagement here. Go>. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, and Linkedin. Connect with Jim at