There is nothing like a funeral to make you think about what really matters. I attended a tough one this week. My heart goes out to the family who is dealing with the loss of someone so special to them.
The thing about funerals is that they make many of us turn inward and think about our lives. Am I focused on the things that really matter? What will they say at my funeral? Who will show up and what true impact have I made on those around me? As I think about the answers to these questions, I think about whether my actions every day fit with my answers. Am I DOING what is really important? I would like to share a few ACTIONS that I am committing to as a result. Hopefully some of them resonate with you as well.
ACTION #1: Living with Purpose
It is so easy to get sidetracked onto the immediate, the urgent, and sometimes the very unimportant. We fight this at work. We fight this at home. Our circumstances guide us, rather than following the plan. I am resolved to live on purpose, to follow what the path I have chosen and the path that I believe God would have me to walk. I can only see a short way ahead, but I know it includes faith, family, and helping others. My ACTION is to reset each day and insure that I am on the chosen path and not chasing after stuff that doesn’t matter.
ACTION #2: Staying Focused
Much of my distraction comes from digital. Not a surprise for tech guy, but I think it is really an epidemic among us all. If I take a step back, how many of those hours on my iPad are productive, and how many are spent playing with this, looking at that, drilling down on that Facebook article, or watching that video? What in the world did we do before we had mobile connections to the web? Probably more productive things! My ACTION is to cut back on my web connected and social media time to take more time to read, write, or spend time with family and others.
ACTION #3: Be Accessible
In theory I want to help, be available and be a resource for others. In practice, I cringe when someone needs my time and usually ask them to fit around my busy schedule. In theory, I want to be that guy who takes the time to talk to everyone and shows an interest in people regardless of their station or position. In practice, I am often running to the next thing and too focused on what I need to do next. My ACTION here is to see people, see opportunities to help, see ways to encourage, and develop new friendships.
ACTION #4: Have Fun
I am a little intense by nature, very competitive, and motivated to succeed. These qualities can be good in some ways, but I am often so wrapped up in what happened at work, or how we are going to grow the business, or the trouble that some customer is experiencing ,that I have a hard time letting go and enjoying myself. I like my job, and work is never done. I often tell my lovely wife, Vicki that it is a good thing I am married and have a family, or there would be little reason to come home. I might just put a cot in my office and never leave work. My family is precious to me, and they help bring balance to my life. My ACTION is to plan for fun, to crack a joke once in a while (I can hear my kids groan now), and to enjoy this great life God has given us.
ACTION #5: Reach Out
We have all been so blessed with food, homes, vehicles, and a quality of life that is better than anywhere I know in this world. I believe it is our responsibility to help those who are struggling around us. That looks different for everyone, but there are people to help on every corner. They don’t always come to us, sometimes we have to look for the opportunity. Sometimes they are right in front of our face and we don’t take the time to see them. It is easy to see someone who is struggling and make excuses about why they don’t deserve or need our help. Maybe they have put themselves in the position they are in. Maybe they have made bad choices. Maybe they are negative and not pleasant to be around. Maybe, just maybe we can help make a difference for them and get them back on their feet. And, maybe we will be helped more than we imagine in helping them. My ACTION is to see and search out those in need, and to help with wisdom, time, resources and attention.
As I think about these commitments to take action, I am challenged to keep them! Living on purpose requires rowing upstream against the flow of our circumstances. It is not an easy row, but it is the right course. The path is not without reward. Life is good upstream!