I believe I read this saying (originally said by Napoleon) by one of the Gedolim (torah leaders) with respect to one's religious service. Could be it was the Chafetz Chaim. Looking for a source.
the idea I believe is that if one does not aspire to great heights in his service of God, then he cannot even be a simple God fearing Jew.
I found a related idea in Tana d'Bei Eliyahu (ch.25) "one should always tell himself when will my deeds approach those of my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". but nothing like the above.