What defines a great accomplishment? Raising healthy, productive and happy children; teaching our future leaders to excel; these certainly qualify. We recognize greatness in sports, the arts, politics and business. But what defines something as “great”?

What defines an accomplishment as great is how we respond to it. When we are in awe; when we have a feeling of otherworldliness; when we are filled with the thrill of victory; this is when one of us has done something great. We all recognize and respond to greatness, because it is in all of us. 

Here are four elements that must be present for greatness to occur; you could call them the essential precursors of greatness:

A GREAT VISION: Every great accomplishment starts with a crystal clear picture of what it will be like—what it will look like, sound like and especially feel like to have this achievement come to fruition. Many of history’s great men and women probably came by their visionary tendencies naturally, but anyone may learn the “art” of it.

A GREAT VOICE: The great ones have the ability to communicate with passion their vision and its resulting rewards to all those whose blood, sweat and tears will be required to pull it off. They have the courage and vulnerability to put their hearts on the line for all to see, hear and feel. For it is the heartfelt connection that rallies the forces, both tangible and mysterious, to come to bear on vision. 

GREAT MOTIVATION: Like the courage of a mother defending her child’s life, self-motivation is the Herculean energy that gives us the power to act and to attract that which we need to realize our vision. Self-motivation flows in direct proportion to how clear and compelling one’s vision is in mind and heart. We all bump into this power occasionally, any time we create fantastic results in the moment. The great ones among us keep it consistently flowing in abundance, regardless of circumstances, obstacles or immediate results. 

GREAT COURAGE: In the quest for great deeds, courage is the component that comes under continual assault. The courage to face opposition; to challenge the status quo;  to face daily failures and still get back in the game and lead the way. Courage is the ability to see the danger everyone else sees and act anyway. Just imagine what you can accomplish when you are courageous enough in every moment of the quest.

What makes great men and women? Great vision, great voice, great motivation, great courage—and they add up to great deeds.

RICHARD B. BROOKE is currently the CEO of a
network marketing company and faculty
member of Networking University.