An Extraordinary Life

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.

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Minimal Progress Still Counts

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:

  1. I want to be making progress toward my goals and not falling behind
  2. 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.