Box of Crayons Blog


“When you have decided what you believe…” (Great Work quote)

red cube among white crowd

“When you have decided what you believe,
what you feel must be done,
have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s the “alone” part of that quote that takes hold of me today and makes me pause and think.

I’ve said for some time that you can’t do Great Work by yourself – if you are, it’s not Great Work. And I am a big believer that you need to invite in others to help, encourage, support and cajole you into your Great Work.

And… there’s something about the moment of striding out alone that’s true as well.

As I think about the Hero’s Journey, I’m conscious that while the hero has people around her, the moment of crossing the threshold is a choice that is hers to take by herself.

What’s your experience of the loneliness of Great Work?

8 Responses to “When you have decided what you believe…” (Great Work quote)

  • Jeff Stafford

    Michael! I love reading your blog and your writing. The loneliness of Great Work doesn’t exist. How can one be lonely in such an adventure. Sure, I can be alone – creating, contemplating, or standing at the edge – but never lonely. Even in the solitary experiences of doing Great Work – it’s with and for others. The others might not be in my physical presence at the moment, but they are in the mind as I think about creating or writing. And that to me is Great Work.

    Thanks for making me pause, reflect, and choose today.

  • Nancy

    My experience is, I enjoy the start of Great Work – it is lonely (but just for a little while) + scary + exciting. I look forward to the results – less work for me and others.

  • Sharon

    The first time I read it, I was troubled by your statement that Great Work cannot be done alone. I tend to be quite independent (no desire to be a follower or a leader), but in time I realized what you say is true. In some way or other our work is always supported by other people. This can range from someone else actually digging in and doing the work with us to someone simply giving encouragement when we talk about our great work. This does not preclude us from having convictions about our work and following through on them, even if our usual support system doesn’t “get it” (yet!).

  • Masa

    I received your book and started working on it. After contemplating about my map 1, I’ve realized that for me, great work involves or helps people whom I’m connected with or could have personal/emotional connections with. I tend to be quite individualistic when it comes to doing things, but I’ve been trying to open up myself more – I think that will help me find people who need my help as well as people who I can seek help from.

    By the way, I’m planning to tweet about how I go about your book. I think it would be fantastic if you could announce the official hashtag for people working on your book so we know that we’re not alone in studying your book! I’ve used #domoregreatwork for my tweets, but perhaps something shorter like #dmgw would be more convenient. In any case, I’m curious about what you think on this.


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