Do you Know Who You Are?

Wealthy people have valuables. Successful people have values and they have honor to go with them.   

Here’s a fact: you can have “it all” but if you came by any of it dishonorably then you may be wealthy but you are not a success. 

Successful people, truly successful people, not the ones who merely appear successful, have values. Core values. These values make them who they are. These values are the guideposts for their life. These values inform each and every decision that they make. 

Successful people will change their priorities. They will adjust their goals and they will compromise when compromise is called for. They will never never never sacrifice their core values for the appearance of success. 

Priorities and goals are based on wants, needs and life circumstances at any given moment. Core values are based on principle and they are rock solid, once determined they do not change. If you’ve given up or sacrificed what you believed to be a core value then it wasn’t a core value after all. 

Here’s another fact and it’s a sad one. Most people when asked can not identify their core values. They know there are “things” that are truly important to them but they just haven’t put enough thought into them to be able to verbalize them. 

If you can’t verbalize your core values then your core values aren’t guiding you. 

You are likely not living the life that you want for yourself. It’s possible other people are making decisions for you that have a profoundly negative influence on your life. Your life feels beyond your control. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

You were created for a purpose, your life matters. You are special. Unique. Valuable. You can make a difference. You may doubt that today but once you have identified your core values you’ll know it to be absolutely true.

Invest time each day to discover your core values. Reflect on your life, every part of your life, to determine what and who really matters. You’ll likely find that very few of the important things and people you hold so dear really matter. Once you’ve determined what and who really matter and why they really matter, you’ll be well on your way to discovering your core values.

Knowing your core values will make every decision easier. They will be your guide in good times and especially in tough times. Your core values will become your foremost counselor. 

Never measure success in terms of wealth; money can only help determine what someone is. True success is based on adherence to one’s values because it’s a person’s values that determines who they are.

So…..do you know who you are?

If You Want Better Then Be Better

I would hazard a guess that every person on earth wants “better.” They want to do better, have better, speak better, love better or just plain be better. 

It doesn’t matter what race they are, it doesn’t matter what country they are from. Their faith or lack of faith, their age, and their level of education doesn’t matter either. Everyone wants better.

I’d guess a day hardly goes by that the majority of humans don’t think of something or someone that could be better. Sometimes that “thought” turns into a complaint. Sometimes people will give voice to that complaint by saying “why doesn’t somebody do something?” 

Why indeed! 

Can you imagine a world in which that question was never asked? Can you imagine a world in which instead of asking that “why doesn’t” question they just did it?

Can you imagine a world in which YOU never ask that question but instead just do something?

I’m reminded of a poem first shared with me 25 years ago by my great friend and mentor, Mark Norman. I think of this often when I fall into the trap of thinking “somebody” ought to do something. Here is the poem: 

Your task,

To build a better world said God.

I answered: “How?”

The world is such a large vast place

So complicated now,

And I so small and useless am,

There’s nothing I can do.

But God in his great wisdom said: 

“Just build a better you”.

                          Author unknown

There are certainly many things that could be better that you and I have no control over.  Trying to control those things will only add unneeded stress to your life. So instead of trying to control what you can’t why not commit to controlling and bettering what you can.

You!

One of my goals for each day is simple: be a little better today at something than I was yesterday. It’s a worthy goal and some days I achieve it. I achieve it on the days when I intentionally go after it. The key to achieving almost any goal, even simple ones, is intentionality. You won’t get better by accident, you’ll get better by purpose, on purpose, for a purpose.

Decide today that the “somebody” who “ought to do something” is you. Make a plan, set a goal and get after it! 

Always remember, when you make a difference for even one person you have made a difference for the world. Even if that one person is just little ol’ you.

Do You Really Matter?

20120916-200620.jpg

Would the world miss you if you were gone tomorrow? Would anyone notice you weren’t around anymore? Would anyone care?

The answer to those questions, all those questions, is a resounding YES! Even if you have days you might not be so sure the answer remains a resounding YES!

You see, you actually have a wonderful life!

One of my favorite movies of all time is the Jimmy Stewart classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

It’s a holiday movie but it’s message is true every day of the year. You matter!

The movie is about a guy named George, he grew up in a small town but he had a big heart. He was constantly doing good for others, often while sacrificing his own wants and needs in the process. George was a good guy.

Well, through no fault of his own George ran into some major trouble one Christmas Eve (while protecting his uncle Billy) and his options dried up faster than an ice cube in the desert. He decided that the world, his family and his friends would be better off without him. His small life insurance policy could do more for his wife and kids than he ever could. In all his troubles he decided that not only didn’t he matter anymore, he decided that he never really mattered at all.

He decided to jump from a bridge into freezing water below and end it all.

What George had forgotten was all the people whose lives he had touched. All those people knew George was struggling and they prayed for him, they prayed hard.

Their prayers were answered when an angle named Clarence showed up. His mission was to help George “see” that he actually had a wonderful life. If Clarence accomplished his mission he would earn his wings, George would be just fine and everyone would live happily ever after.

Clarence earned his wings by showing George how different (and worse) so many people’s lives would be if he hadn’t been there. As it turned out, simple small town George mattered and he mattered a lot.

You and me, sometimes we need a Clarence. We need a Clarence to help us keep things in perspective. We need a Clarence to help us “see” what our struggles keep us from seeing. We need a Clarence to remind us of all the good things in our lives (even when most everything might not look so good ) and we need a Clarence to help us be certain that we matter.
Your “Clarence” might be a spouse or a parent. Maybe a close friend or a mentor. Your “Clarence” might even be you.

This much is certain, from time to time you are going to need some positive affirmation. You’re going to need to be reminded just what a difference you make in this world and in the lives of the people around you.

You need to know that you would be missed, you need to know that YOU MATTER because you most certainly do.