Let’s Make It Matter!
As 2016 came to a close, I took some time to ponder the things in life that bothered me most, in the hopes of insight to making changes. I contemplated what was within my own power to change and what I could at least have an impact on. In today’s world, it’s easy to feel insignificant and powerless to affect any real or lasting change. We all sometimes feel no one really cares what we think. While that is sometimes true, the solution can never be to stick one’s head in the proverbial sand and hope things get better without us. Most likely they won’t!
The Result of Aging
I’m really not sure what prompted this new passion of mine to make a difference. Perhaps it is a result of the aging process and perhaps you feel it too.
In my twenties, my focus was on building a career. In my thirties, it became supporting my family and preparing for a financially secure future. My forties found me enjoying career successes and preparing for retirement.
Life Turned Upside Down
Then my fifties happened. Life changed drastically for me. Not only did the aging process rear its head, I also went through a nasty divorce. I lost my career and financial security. My middle child was killed in a tragic car crash. Everything I had planned and prepared for was turned upside down. My situation is not as unusual as one might think. These disappointments and changes, combined with facing my own mortality because of aging and deaths of loved ones, have made me more philosophical and introspective. They have also given me a stronger desire to make a difference in any way possible.
A Desire to Make a Difference
The things that mattered most no longer seem to hold the same importance or fascination. Today, the quality of my relationships is much more important. Perhaps you have learned, as I have, how quickly they can be lost. Looking back over the years, I realized I’ve come to appreciate three foundational principles for a successful life.
Find your Passion and Purpose
Without both, you will never be content in life. Each of us must find a purpose bigger than ourselves and pursue it with passionate abandon. My father once told me, “find what you love to do, and then figure out a way to get paid for it.” Many years after his death, I realized I should have given more credence to his wise council. It’s never too late, though, and in my late fifties I’m finally pursuing my passion and making it purposeful, too!
Encourage Honesty, Integrity, and Accountability
Not every person you interact with will hold these qualities in the same esteem as you might. But as far as it is in your power, demonstrate these qualities and others will come to appreciate you for living your principles ~ in easy and difficult times. Be a shining example for others.
Make a Difference
Some people’s influence is larger than others, but none is irrelevant. When you see injustices seek solutions. Speak up, challenge the status quo, live fearlessly, and always be hard on the problem, never on the person. When the problem is larger than you, solicit help, organize others behind your cause and make a difference in the world, whether that impact is a tiny ripple or turns into a tidal wave. It does matter. In the end, you will be remembered not for your accomplishments but for the impact your life had on others, be that one or one million. Step up and take some responsibility for the change you want to see in the world even if all you are doing is starting the process for others to finish.
I believe that our smallest actions have an impact on people and events in ways we will never know. Let’s all make it matter!