On Tuesday evening I heard former Secretary of State Madeline Albright speak at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland Oregon. It was interesting to hear of her experiences and get her take on current events. She has most certainly had a front row seat at historic events, and worked with the biggest names in world politics. As I heard more than one person comment at the end of the event, “What an extraordinary life!”
The thought that has stuck with me since that event is that we can all live extraordinary lives, based on the choices we make. Ms. Albright didn’t just happen into an extraordinary life by accident or by chance. I heard nothing from her experience that led me to believe she sat around waiting for the extraordinary to come her way. Rather, she pursued something she was interested in and continued to improve along the way. Doing so created opportunity that she was willing to take advantage of. Over time, it was this process that led to her extraordinary life.
This event left me encouraged that anyone is capable of living an extraordinary life by the choices they make. While we may not be Secretary of State, we can choose what we do with our lives, the things we pursue, the decisions we make, and the people we surround ourselves with. We can choose how we treat others, and what we invest or efforts toward.
On the contrary, we can also choose a path of minimal resistance, one that is easy and well within our comfort zone, or we can just wait to see what happens to come our way.
For me, I choose an extraordinary life. What that means to me is I’m choosing to spend my life pursuing things that are meaningful to me and by doing so, will have a positive impact on others.
Let’s all decide today to live an extraordinary life.
Most worthwhile goals we have require a degree of consistent effort in order to achieve. Consistent steps. Said another way, achieving our goals requires work. For me, there are some days where I, for whatever reason, don’t feel like doing the work.
When I feel like this, I remind myself that I’m either moving toward my goals or farther from them. I find this thought motiving because it reminds me that:
- I want to be making progress toward my goals and not falling behind
- Even small progress toward your goal on a specific day is better than no progress at all
With this in mind, I’m compelled to at least show up and make minimal progress versus making no progress at all. While it may not be my best effort, I’m at least making progress toward my goal.
Be aware of the days when you may not feel like putting the effort toward an important goal of yours. Instead of punching out and doing nothing, decide to at least show up and give something toward your goal, no matter how small. And remember, even small progress is better than no progress at all.
I work at a local hospital in Oregon where I provide data solutions to our medical and administrative staff. What I like most about this work is that the data I provide helps people make decisions or do their jobs better. I love that!
This week I got an unexpected call from one of the doctors I have been working with recently. She called to tell me that the data I provided was extremely helpful in a project related to her re-credentialing process, and that she appreciated the work I did for her. That call made my day! It felt good to hear from someone that the work I’m doing is helping folks.
Her example got me thinking about the people that are helping me and how I’m doing at expressing appreciation. I was reminded that if I enjoyed getting some kind words of appreciation, that other people would most likely enjoy hearing similar words from me. My awareness to express genuine appreciation has been heightened.
If there are people that have helped you, take a moment to give them a call or send them a note expressing your appreciation. You’ll likely make their day.
This week we spent a couple of evenings getting together with friends. Each night was a great time filled with laughs, conversation and connection. I had a great time, and I owe it all to my wife.
She is excellent at having an idea, whether it’s getting together with friends or planning a trip, and taking action to cause it to happen. I admire this trait in her. I have often been beneficiary of her drive to bring events like these to life, and I have the great memories to prove it.
My wife’s example reminds me that what often stands in the way of where we are and where we want to be is our own lack of initiative. We don’t have what we’d like because we don’t take steps to cause it to happen.
Be encourage d this week to go out and cause something to happen in your own life.
Lately, a lot of people I know, including myself, have dealt with some kind of medical issue within their family. There’s also a lot going on in the world that causes anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. While all these things can leave a person feeling overwhelmed, what they leave me feeling is a longing for heaven.
As a Christian, (don’t worry, no preaching!) when the world feels heavy, I take comfort in Jesus’ words where he tells us that:
- He is preparing a place for us and is coming back for us. ~John 14:3
- In this world we will have trouble but not to fear, because he has overcome the world. ~John 16:33
Longing for heaven doesn’t mean that I’m ready to give up my pulse anytime soon! Rather, it means that no matter what I face on Earth, Jesus has overcome it and will walk through it with me. He has also taken care of me when my time on Earth is up. My eternity is secure and that gives me peace in comfort during whatever trials I face.
“Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit. “
What is that one thing you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve been too afraid to try, or just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet?
In light of the tragic shootings that have occurred in the US this week, I’m reminded that our time, and the time of those we love, could be up at any moment. With this in mind, let’s commit to doing those things we’ve always wanted to do, to saying those things we know we should say, and to being the people we know we want to be. Let’s not be left with regret, or leave regret behind, when our time is finally up.
For the past several weeks I’ve had this mole in my back yard that has been making a mess of my lawn. He’s dug tunnels all over and has infuriated me with dozens of mounds of dirt that have “magically” shown up day after day. In an effort to get rid of him, I cleared out a couple of the mounds he dug and threw some smoke bombs in there. When the smoke cleared (as it were) the only things left were another mound and of dirt and an increasingly frustrated homeowner.
I realized that smoke wasn’t going to cut it, and that I needed to gain some knowledge if I was to defeat my yard-destroying adversary. So, I spent some time online learning about moles. I learned what moles like to eat, how to identify active mole tunnels in the yard, how to trap moles, what kind of trap to buy, where to place it, and how to set it. After some failed attempts, each of which resulted in additional knowledge, I finally caught the little bugger! (He was actually bigger than I thought!)
Aside from ridding my yard of this pesky intruder, what I especially enjoyed about the experience was that process of learning new skills, putting them into practice, and seeing positive results. It’s amazing to me how easy it is to gain and apply new knowledge in order to help solve a problem or find a solution. We don’t have to stay ignorant. We just have to spend the time to gain the knowledge we need and then put in into practice.
The next time you feel stuck or uncertain how to move forward, spend some time seeking knowledge about the dilemma you face. Then, once armed with the know knowledge, apply it!
It feels good to move from being ignorant and overwhelmed to being knowledgeable and able confident in your ability to apply it.
A little knowledge makes all the difference!