Reality Reflection: A Question of Value

Each time I sit down to write a blog post and try to come up with a topic I have to ask myself if it’s something valuable to you. Sure I could write about tons of things, but would you really find value in the book I recently read, something my partner said or something I saw? Sometimes the answer is yes, and I share with you. Other times the answer is no and I have to keep thinking about what to write.

But blog posts aren’t the only place that we question value, it happens many days at work, or with our significant others, or with our kids or parents. Sometimes we do make mistakes and it makes us question what we’re good for, sometimes it feels like all we’re doing is busy work anyone could do and it makes us doubt that we have anything unique we bring to the table.

I think we sometimes forget that value can be added or created in many different ways, including ways that can’t be measured like we often want to. There isn’t always a tangible or numerical answer to the value that you’re creating. It can be frustrating to do the same thing several times because your boss loses stuff, hear the same argument from your significant other because they refuse to see things in another way, or have to take on the same stuff for your family each week without anyone else really being willing to contribute. But in all of those things and countless other ways, you are adding value to the world.

This week I encourage you to check in with yourself before you do something to make sure that you are adding value, or how you could better add value, or if something should be dropped from the commitments of your life. Yes there will always be things that seem pointless in your life, we can’t typically get rid of all of that stuff, but we can do a better job recognizing and celebrating the good work we do, as well as making better decisions about how best to spend our time and resources. How will you add value to the world this week?

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Personal (Purim) Victories

Today the Jewish communities are celebrating Purim. Purim is an interesting spiritual celebration, because it’s one of the few that the story behind it crosses more than the usual spiritual lines (to all who read the Old Testament in the Bible). In case you forget, it’s the story of Esther, and how she becomes queen and is able to plead to the king to save her life and the life of her people (the Jews). If you haven’t read it [lately], I’d encourage you to check it out here.

Before you head off because you think this might be a spiritual post, no, I’m not actually planning to talk about Purim or the story of Esther. Because while it is a faith-based story, the story is one that many of us can identify with and is really a hero/heroine story that countless people read each day. One with true love, respect, victory, the defeat of a villain, and a happily ever after. It’s also a rags to riches story, and one that shows more bravery in a few short chapters than most of us will ever show in our entire lives.

So if this isn’t a spiritual post, what is it? It’s a reminder to myself and you that anything can happen to anyone. Anyone can get lucky. Anyone can totally transform their life from the bottom to a much better life. Anyone can find the courage to do the right thing. Anyone can make the world a better place. Anyone can be a leader. Anyone can work to create a happy ending.

If the future is that bright, why are people struggling? Some struggle because they don’t find the courage to try. Some refuse the help others are offering. Some get paralyzed by all the options and can’t pick one. Some don’t believe in themselves. Some don’t get out there and look for answers or do the work to get there.

What about you? How does your future look and what are you doing to make it better?

A Life of Passion and Purpose

I was reading through some blogs this week and one of them caught my eye. It asked a question about if something could really be that simple. In many cases I think things can be very simple and straightforward, even to the point of it maybe being difficult to accept the truth or best course of action being so simple. As much as we like things to be simple, we also struggle with them being simple because we think it’s not up to par for our advanced brains and evolved lives. Sometimes it just is simple.

One of the things we’ll be taking a look at this month is the topic of passion. So as I was thinking about things being simple, I asked myself if passion was really that simple: if living passionate lives was really all it took to have a fulfilling and full life, if passion was the thing that’s missing in so many relationships, or if passion was the difference between success and failure. While I do think if we lived more passionate lives we’d have more fulfilling lives, I don’t think it can really stand by itself.

I think that passion has to be partnered with the right purpose to really be the fulfilling, engaging, community-building, success achieving emotion it can be. War often tells the tale of very passionate people, but people who are passionate about all the wrong things (Hitler for example), and their passion ends up scarring the world. The world of business also has plenty of stories of people who were passionate about something, but it wasn’t the customer or making the world a better place,. But when you look at people like Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr., you see someone who not only is passionate, but their passion helps build a better future, brings people together and they and their passion are talked about long after their death.

So what about you? What’s your passion? Are you living your passion? Will your passion help you build the life you really want to live or is it time to take a look at your life purpose and where you’re heading?

Where’s Your Heart?

As we get close to wrapping up another month and entering a new one, I’ve been thinking about getting a fresh perspective on life purpose. I believe that everyone needs to have some purpose to their life, maybe even several. For example part of your life purpose can be being a parent, part of it can be developing apps to help connect families in distant parts of the world, part of it can be counseling victims of domestic abuse.

But sometimes I think that we get so caught up in doing all of the things that go into living our purpose that we forget to nourish the very important core of our purpose: the passion, heart and drive that got you on that purpose path in the first place. Yes, it’s easy to break purpose down into a series of tasks to do, but then it becomes more of a job or simply a process, rather than a purpose.

Purpose is defined as the reason something exists or is done, to resolve to do something. Purpose gives you the energy, the courage, the motivation, the encouragement, the drive and belief in what you’re doing to be something that not only has to get done, but has value beyond the simple results that can occur when you do something.

If you’ve been busy doing things in life, this weekend I would encourage you to take time to get back to the heart and spirit of what got you onto this purpose path in the first place. I’m planning to re-read some books I haven’t read in a while that I read when I was first diving into my business and maybe take a quiet walk too or make some time to meditate. Why? So that I can not only “do” my purpose, but keep the flame and passion behind it alive and be a light to others.

What will you do this weekend to reignite your purpose?

How are You Living Today?

One person I’m always learning from is the late Dr. Wayne Dyer. Today I thought we’d take a look at a quote that speaks to how he lived his life and should inspire us to live ours as well.

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”

This quote says to me that too many people are living as though they have forever. Regardless of any spiritual doctrines you follow, right now physical laws dictate that we all die at some point in time. Some of us will live “normal” lives and die from old age essentially, but others of us will not have the blessing to have lived a full life but will die, or be taken as people say, “before our time.”

This is a bit of an oxymoron because the reality is that when our time is up, it’s up. We may think that it’s required to have a full 80 plus years of living, and that the kids, teens, parents, and people who get deadly diseases or are killed just weren’t given that full amount as is their due. But since we’re not “due” anything when it comes to how long we have it’s important to decide how you really want to live out however much time you do have.

I’m all for preparing and planning for any financial, health and end-of-life difficulties. I believe we should anticipate being able to live that long, and that squandering all we have isn’t what living life to the fullest or living this day as the last is really about. Instead, I believe it’s about being more intentional about what will really fulfill us and we’ll want to reflect back on when our life ends. Do you really want to think about that TV show, or would you rather be able to enjoy another memory of walking with your partner or playing with your kids?

Dr. Dyer may or may not have had some idea that his end was near when he died in 2015. But throughout his life, he didn’t give up or stop living when life got tough, he kept going and kept living. Don’t give up on life, don’t give up on trying new things and don’t give up hope for a better tomorrow.

A Life of Faith and Fire

This week a well-known individual and leader passed from this life to the next: Billy Graham. He touched so many lives in so many ways and was outspoken about his faith and belief that life is so much more than what we deal with in our day to day lives. I believe that some of the reason he was well-known was because that was God’s plan for his life. Some of us are meant to live quiet lives of faith while others are given a lot more responsibility and a more visible calling.

But there was something else that he had that not everyone else shows the world, or is able to sustain for the many decades that Billy Graham did: passion. Billy Graham lived his life with a passion for living and for his faith. Anyone who knew Billy Graham could tell you about the passion he had, and how his life reflected that passion. He wasn’t shy about sharing his faith, but he didn’t do so in an abusive or aggressive or offensive way.

You may never have the world stage that Billy Graham did, but if you have any dreams or desires of getting there you better have a serious passion, whether it’s regarding your faith or something else. It’s not about being loudly vocal about something, or having the finances to put yourself on stage, or even about being something so that you can be on stage, it’s about having a true soul-deep passion for something (or someone), something that others identify with and can get excited about too. Where does that passion come from? It’s in large part about being true to yourself and following through on the abilities and passions you were born with or have developed.

Are you living in line with your passions and purpose, regardless of whether you’re on a national/world stage or just hanging out with friends? Focus on being who you are and choose to make a positive impact on each person you meet.

“If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire.” Saint Catherine of Siena

Do You Care?

Today I’ve got a challenging question to ask you that I’ve been asking myself: do you really care? Do you really care about what’s going on in the world, in the lives of friends and family, in your relationship with your partner, with your kids, or in your community? If you answered yes, does your life really reflect that you care? Just about everyone makes the appropriate noises or says the appropriate things when they have to, but do they really mean it? Do you really mean it?

One of the simplest ways to check if you really care is by taking a look at your finances. How are you spending your money each month? What charities or organizations do you donate your money or other resources (like your knowledge) to? If you’re spending your money on clothing from name brands who don’t have any type of cultural give-back/investment program and not giving to any charities or organizations I would have to say you don’t really care about any of the causes you say you care about.

The other way to check is how you’re spending your time. What posts are you sharing on social media? What conversations are you having over drinks with friends and at the dinner table with your family? If you’re religious what are you praying about or meditating over? Are you donating your time to support organizations and charities? Are you watching only pop-culture programs on the TV or are you watching some more educational ones as well? Are you subscribed to and reading educational or personal growth emails and blog posts/podcasts or are you only signed up for the latest sales?

I’m not asking you to care about every cause or person in the world. All I’m asking is if you’ve got anything in your life that you really care about, some way of leaving a legacy on this planet after you die, a way of making the world better for this generation or the next, and if you’re including things in your daily life that really matter to you. Yes, there are some things that are part of our lives that we may not enjoy or feel great about, but there should be something in each and every day that does matter to us and we enjoy. What are you looking forward to today?