To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.
— Fernando Pessoa, Poems of Fernando Pessoa
An early morning. Out the door long before the dawn brought me deep into the heart of New York City commuter traffic. I still tell myself that this is the price of greatness, something I’ve told my children more than they want to hear, something I don’t always want to hear myself. Yet it still applies, and should for a lifetime. For don’t we owe it to ourselves to put all we are into everything we do?
The price of greatness is consistently showing up and doing the things we know deep down that we must do. We might never reach greatness even paying the price, but we’ll surely get closer than we might otherwise. Mostly, we honor a commitment to ourselves to at least reach for it. Without this honor, we aren’t quite whole are we? We’re incomplete because we left something of ourselves out of our work. We owe ourselves something more. To be whole.