Reality Reflection: Tired of Doing Good?

There comes a time in every week, sometimes more than once a week when I just feel like it’s all in vain.  Do you feel this way?  That no matter how hard you try, how good you are, how much good karma you try to create, how many people you help, how hard you work, how much overtime you do, how healthy you eat, how nice you are, how patient you are, how much money you throw at something that it’s just not enough?  I get frustrated hearing from person after person that they want to know the best way to help, the best thing to do and then don’t take the the advice no matter how many times they hear it or how good it is. Then there are the people who just want to know the best shortcuts to take when there is no shortcut that will make up for actually doing the work or helping out people.  Feeling that frustration yet?

Maybe it’s something much simpler like trying date after date only never being able to find someone who really fits you, trying book after book and not being satisfied, visiting house after house but not finding one to purchase, or trying restaurant after restaurant and not finding any you like.  It may not seem like a big deal to someone else, but it could be really important to you.  Sure some struggles may not matter in the scheme of things, like picking a restaurant or buying a new pair of socks, but they do matter.

But just when I get too frustrated with the state of the world or my life I’m reminded by a kind message from a friend, cute puppy or bunny video, positive news from a charity I support, a compliment from a boss/client/coworker, a special moment with my partner or a quiet moment in nature that there’s still hope for the world.  The funny thing is that sometimes you have to go look for that hope, it doesn’t always come to you.  There’s nothing wrong with you for needing a little confidence boost on occasion or needing the support of others. The reality is we all need to be reminded of the good in the world.  What good have you seen lately?

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Beyond Your Legacy

Today we’re taking one last look at the topic of legacy for this month.  In thinking about legacy often we think about it as a serious thing, and it is.  It’s one of those intimidating things like picking your college, getting married, buying a house or facing sickness and death.  We all want to leave a legacy with the world, no one wants to be forgotten.  But the kind of legacy we leave isn’t always up for debate.  I don’t know anyone who really wants to leave a legacy of death, destruction, hurt and hate.  Sure they may want to leave a legacy that they’re known for and one way of doing that is to be part of world destruction, after all when things go bad there’s lots of press.   But as memorable as it is to be known as a killer or do bad stuff, would you rather not be remembered if that was your only choice?

Just like when we consider success I don’t think that our only focus should be on creating a legacy.  If we spend all our time on how we’re going to leave a legacy we’ll miss out on a lot that life has to offer.  Life isn’t just about the endgame and a race to the finish, there are so many special moments in between the beginning and the end that we need to be attentive to and often miss out on.  When we’re only focused on one thing in our lives I guarantee you will miss out on things.

As you think about the month that is ending, the year ahead and the legacy you’re creating don’t let the moments that seem pointless or don’t seem to build your legacy get ignored.  Make the most of each and every moment.  Choose to live the best life you possibly can.  Don’t let worry overwhelm you or focus too much on creating a valuable legacy, remember that you’re part of a bigger picture.

“I tend to split my activities into fun, income and legacy. The number of things in that finance bucket is pretty few and far between and doesn’t consume much time at all.”  Timothy Ferriss

Jesus’ Legacy

To finish off our spiritual look at legacy I want to talk about the legacy of Jesus. Jesus not only left a powerful legacy here on earth, He created an incredible one for our future as well in Heaven. The legacy of Jesus here on earth is a very simple one: love. Throughout His ministry here on earth through the relationships He had, the people He interacted with, the things He taught, and even the way He lived His life were all building blocks that contributed to His legacy of love. If there’s something that’s awesome to be remembered for it’s being a person who exemplified love.

Jesus also did something that most people don’t do and left 2 legacies. Jesus didn’t just teach us how to live here on earth, He taught us about living for the future. When He went to the cross and then rose from the dead 3 days later He brought something into all our lives that wasn’t there before: the possibility of an eternal future; a future that’s much better than anything we could think up or create here on earth.

Some people leave a legacy that can’t be taken when you leave the earth like paintings, buildings, or money, but Jesus left 2 legacies that can go with us throughout this life and the next: the legacies of love and life.  There’s no better way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the world than to live a life of love and hope.  Will you follow Jesus’ example and leave a legacy of love and hope as well?

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.”  Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Reality Reflection: Confidence

Today’s topic is one that most of us struggle with at one point in time or another: confidence. I heard on the radio today that confidence is one of the things that people check for when they meet new people.  Do you do a confidence check when you meet someone new?  Depending on the type of confidence they have you may feel overwhelmed, impressed, excited or even underwhelmed by them.

The confidence I want to talk about today is really based around people having a lack of confidence.  I talked with a consultant this week who had a simple but complete website and seemed like a nice person.  When I got him on the phone he didn’t really remember the emails we exchanged, reminded me several times about his lack of professional recognition (licensing/degrees etc.) even after I had already informed him that I wasn’t necessarily looking for anyone like that, didn’t seem confident about his ability to help me and it really put me off to wanting to work with him.

I’m not someone who leads with overwhelming confidence but I do believe in myself and my abilities.  If I tell you that I can’t assist you it’s not because I don’t have skills and capabilities, it’s because we’re not a good fit or you need other kinds of assistance than I’m able to or willing to offer.  I believe in who I am and what I can do, and won’t try to convince you I can or can’t offer assistance because I don’t fit in a society-approved box.

Confidence isn’t about always being right, being perfect, or having all the answers.  Confidence is about believing in yourself, who you are, what you’re capable of doing (even if it’s with the help of others), and believing in being able to make a positive difference on the future.  You don’t have to live up to the letter of the world’s law, you can make your own rules.  But if you choose to make your own rules and walk your own path, move forward with confidence in your ability to do so, don’t apologize for choosing to be different.

A Full-Life Legacy

Only 2 more weeks in this month and our discussion on creating a legacy.  Today I wanted to talk about something that challenges people of faith as well as those who are legacy-conscious.  Often I hear from people who think the only way to share about their faith is to use terms like God, Jesus, saved, believe, forgiveness, church, Bible etc.  However, that’s not the only way to share faith, nor is it usually the easiest way to speak to those who aren’t religious in your early conversations with them.  Instead, by following the command of Jesus to “love one another” it’s much easier to make a connection and begin a relationship with someone outside of the faith circle.  It’s not a “wrong” way to do it, Jesus suggested it after all, and yes, sometimes the right thing to do is to just dive into a “spiritual” conversation.  But other times the best way to share about who Jesus really was is to set a good example, one of love.

Thinking about this brings up the options of creating a legacy. Thus far this month we’ve talked about creating an intentional legacy, like doing lots of painting in hopes of being remembered as a painter.  Your legacy doesn’t have to be pursued in exclusion of making a bigger impact on the world though.  So many people who have left legacies have also left a legacy of destruction as well.  I’m not talking about someone like Hitler or Jack the Ripper, but countless people who have created a legacy but left their families penniless or never could hold onto a relationship or were known for being a jerk and treating others in their life as ‘lesser beings.’

The goal of creating a legacy is as much about being remembered as it is about making the world a better place.  I don’t know if Hitler’s real goal was to be known as the evil man he’s remembered to be.  Maybe it was.  But just because your goal is world domination doesn’t mean that your goal can’t be world domination with the goal of creating a (honestly) much better world.  Your legacy is more than just what you’re hoping it will be, it’s everything you have a hand in during your life.  What full-life legacy are you creating?

“I’ve always thought about my legacy – more so, though, my impact off the field and how I’m helping my community and solidifying and strengthening the lives of others around me. And also, I just want to be a dominant football player, too. So it encompasses everything.”  Larry Fitzgerald

Love, Faithfulness, and Forgiveness

Today in the USA is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As I was thinking about what to write I thought about the man that he was and the example that he set, one we can all learn from. He was a great leader for many reasons, one of the ones that stands out when I think of him is the kind of leader he was. You think about other leaders who were known for their military skills, or their destruction of others and then you find a guy like Dr. King who led with words, peaceful actions and love.

Dr. King set the kind of example that God would be proud of. No, he wasn’t perfect, none of us are, but he led with the goal of uniting people, of inspiring big dreams and of helping the people of the world to see each other in the way that God created us-all people of value and deserving of respect. Dr King never said it would be easy. In fact, he said “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

I encourage you to start your week inspired by the words and work of Dr. King, words that reflect those of Jesus in the Bible. Choose to be someone people can look up to. Choose to be in your relationships with love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Choose to lead with words of compassion and unity not hatred and division. Choose to make the world a better place.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”  Proverbs 3:3

Reality Reflection: Do Your Job

On Wednesday on the family and business blog I talked about, among other things, not being lazy. I hear from so many people that they don’t know things or that something is too much work. A business owner was sharing with me the steps he had to go through to help a client and the thought I had was “yea, that’s your job!” It wasn’t like their client was asking for something unreasonable or that extra work was really required, it was just the normal work required to do his job.

But it got me thinking about how easy we really have it in today’s world. We can go online and find answers to just about anything. It’s just a matter of taking the initiative to do the research. We can get just about any products we want, it’s just a matter of finding it for sale on eBay, Amazon, Etsy or another site that reaches into the world. We can go anywhere it’s just a matter of finding a way or the money to do so.

So what’s the moral of this story? It starts with accepting that life takes work! Even with all the shortcuts and resources we have today there’s still work to be done. I’m OK with sharing about what we’re doing or the steps it took to achieve victory.   It’s great to celebrate your hard work and the things you accomplish.  But don’t expect me to celebrate when you’ve done what is expected or required of you unless it’s a huge step from what you’ve done in the past.

When we all do our jobs we’re given the opportunity to do more than just what’s expected of us (although that is a very big deal for some people).  We’re then given the opportunity to wow others and make a bigger difference in the world.  But it all starts with doing the job you’ve been given well.  Are you doing your job?