Are you filling up a U-Haul?

“Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life.”

John R. Wooden

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the Reverend Billy Graham, “I never saw a U-Haul behind a hearse.”  I love this because it is such a stark reminder of what is meaningful. No matter how many different ways there are of “keeping score” here on earth, you won’t be taking it with you.  

So why spend your life pursuing things when instead you could be creating a life of real meaning and impact? If you do it right, your life’s work could last for generations. If you do it wrong, someone else is going to be hooking up your U-Haul…

Four words that will change your world…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life and don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Steve Jobs

The four most important words from the quote above are, “Your time is limited.”  If you understand and embrace those words, everything that follows has meaning. If you don’t, then the rest is merely good advice.  

If you recognize that your time is limited, why would you ever choose to live someone else’s life?  

If you understand that your time here is temporary, why would you choose to let your voice squelched?  

If you accept that your time here is finite, why would you choose cowardice instead of courage? Why would you choose to ignore your gut?

When one chooses to accept your mortality, you unlock the keys to a life of meaning and fulfillment of God’s purpose.  

So the choice is simple. Choose to embrace the beauty of YOUR life, or choose to live in a state of denial. It’s up to you. Either way, your time is limited…

Do you know why you roar?

“It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

Elizabeth Kenny

Do you know what you stand for? Can you roar when you need to? Do you know when you need to roar and when you don’t?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible occurs when Jesus “cleanses the temple of animals and money changers. Scholars debate the precise meaning that we should infer from the narrative. For me, this story represents “righteous anger” and appropriately delivered action based on bedrock principles.

“In the temple courts, he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”” John‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

(If you are interested, you can read the other narratives of the story as reported in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, & Luke 19:45-46.)  

I love this story because it conveys the power of knowing what you stand for and enables one to take action when those principles are violated. However, it has to be understood that “turn the other cheek” and “be a peacemaker” are also core teachings. You can’t walk around every day roaring at every little thing. Your actions must mean something.

The key is to know who you are and what you stand for so that you know when to be the lion you were born to be. If you don’t know these things, by default, you will forever be a sheep because your roar won’t mean anything.   

Goals without purpose are merely transactions. Your life is much more than a transaction…

“If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily.”

Jack Canfield

The calendar changing is a beautiful opportunity to reset your mind and take the time necessary to refocus and align on what you want to accomplish in the year ahead.  

However, if you don’t have a deep understanding of your purpose in life, then the goals you set are transactional at best. If you don’t have an intentionally articulated and refined individual purpose, then I would argue that it would be a better use of your time to commit to doing the hard work required to surface and distill your purpose and passion.  Only then can you set goals that will inspire the necessary action and commitment needed to carry you through the days when the work is hard, and your energy is low. 

If you have goals for 2021 but can’t clearly state your purpose in life and why you are passionate about it, will you say the year is a success? I can’t think of anything worse than achieving goals that don’t have any meaning and are merely stealing your precious time and energy. If you have goals and no purpose, are you making your life meaningful?

You have 365 days in the coming year; what are you going to do to make them count? Define your purpose first, then the goals will flow as if by magic…

You must learn to listen if you want to show love…

“When you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

To listen, to truly listen, as described in the quote above, is one of the most effective and meaningful ways to show respect to another human being. When you listen like this, you express genuine care and empathy for the person on the other side of the conversation. To do so is to create the glue between content and meaning.  

On the other side of the conversation, when someone leans and listens in this manner, you realize that they are interested in both what you are saying and why you are saying it.  There is almost nothing more meaningful than to be heard in this way.  

If you want to show care, concern, love, and empathy, you must learn to truly listen.

Do you base your life on entitlement or meaning?

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein

If nothing is a miracle, then you live a life of expectation and entitlement. If everything is a miracle, you live a life of gratitude and wonder. Which perspective is going to be more impactful on the lives of those around you? Which of these life choices will leave a legacy of meaning when your time on this earth is over?  If nothing is a miracle then there is no purpose for your life…

Are you focused on the giving or taking value?

“Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Is your life a debit or a credit to the lives of others? Do you bring value to people, or are you a person that extracts value from others?

Extracting value isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it matters significantly about where you want that value to be delivered. Is it for your benefit or the sake of those whom you serve? Which perspective will count and be meaningful after you are gone from this earth?

Impact = The relentless pursuit of simplicity…

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”

John Maeda

There are so many ways to interpret this quote, so many thoughts that come to mind as to how it can be applied to almost every aspect of life. As I meditate on what it means for me this morning I can see a sheet a paper with two columns on the page.

The top of the page is a blank with one word, “Purpose?” and at the bottom there is space to write with “Action Today?”

The header for the left column is “Remove Friction” and the right is “Add Value!”

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is what I can see so vividly in my mind.

Simple. Clean. Underwhelming at first glance, yet powerful when applied and acted upon.

So much of our lives are spent adding more “stuff” when what we should really be doing is stripping away everything that adds friction and gets in the way of achieving our purpose.

To maximize impact, be relentless in your search to find ways to remove friction and add value…

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dusty

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