Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Live Honestly

During my twenties people were overwhelmingly supportive of my nomadic nature. My independence and desire to see the world was often praised. As the years passed, what I needed in my twenties expanded, but reflected the same basic needs—peace and freedom. When I entered a new decade the perspective of my lifestyle changed in the eyes of others. To some, my independence started to look selfish and my desire to see the world resembled instability.

You have internal ambitions. What drives you isn’t any less significant or less meaningful than what drives others. You don’t exist to give your life meaning—your life already has meaning. Your life already matters. That’s why what you accomplish impacts the people in your life. Your triumphs instill inspiration in others because your life matters, not the other way around.

Those who have judged my life through their lenses of fulfillment taught me an incredible lesson. I am responsible for living honestly. I am responsible for pursuing what drives me most. What's important for me to achieve may be drastically different from what's important to you. There is no judgment in the difference.

What motivates you may not line up with the expectations of your friends and family. Don't deny yourself fulfillment. Your dreams matter because you matter. Have the courage to be honest. Be brave enough to pursue success on your terms. Living authentically will prove to provide all of the support you need.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A momentous occasion took place this week. My grandparents celebrated sixty years of marriage. Sixty years! As I looked at all who gathered to wish them well, I couldn’t help thinking about how the decisions of two people have impacted so many. While there are many reasons why their lives have been so influential, one of the most notable has been their choice to live out their commitment.

You don’t have to go far to hear news of people opting out of commitments. Marriages don’t last. Student athletes transfer to different schools. Employees leave jobs and careers. Consumers trade in cars and electronics for the latest models. We are no longer encouraged or even expected to commit. When we are no longer satisfied or happy, we seek out new ways, people, and things to provide us with what we think we’re missing. I’m not suggesting that we never need to change our direction, but there are times when what we’re missing isn’t external. Sometimes we need to commit to ourselves in order to live our best lives.

My grandparents made a commitment to one another, their marriage, and their family. Sixty years later my family and I benefit because of their actions over the last 21,900 days. What would happen if you committed to anything for sixty years? What would you achieve for your family? What if you made a commitment to reach your greatest self for even sixteen years? I am grateful to my grandparents for making such a great choice. They committed to one another and that commitment is influencing lives more than sixty years after they said, “I do”.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meaningful Friendship

We hold certain expectations for people because we learn who to count on for different things. We know who to go to for encouragement, giggles, travel adventures, venting sessions, a night out, a night in, dating advice, or a good debate. While this is healthy, we must be careful. Over time we can easily slip from appreciation to expectation and take those who invest in us for granted.

Think about your friendship gestures or the ways you express your love. Whether you show love with gifts, time, physical affection, encouragement, or with thoughtful deeds, you do so because you deem that particular expression to be valuable. You give what is valuable not because you don’t need it—you give it because it is your best.

Now, consider those in your life. They show their love in different ways. You may have a particular friend who gives amazing gifts or who sends cards just because. You may have another friend who is present to celebrate every occasion. There could be someone else who has a kind, inspiring word or a loving embrace even when you don’t know that you need it. In different ways, your friends give you what they deem to be valuable, not what they have in excess. Those who provide laughter need cheer. People who exude strength need to be strengthened. Listeners need to be heard. Those who provide meaningful friendship also need meaningful friendship.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stand Firm

Athletes, actors, and entertainers live in the glow and heat of the spotlight. When they make a decision, whether it pertains to their career or not, there is a public reaction. If they succeed or fail, there is a spike in conversation on television, the radio, and online. Although the majority of us will never live with such an intense level of scrutiny, watching the fallout that celebrities face can serve to remind us of our need to stand firm when pursuing our dreams.

In order to live the life you seek, it is vital for you to keep your lifelong goals in the forefront of your mind. When you remain focused on your goals it increases the likelihood that you’ll make purposeful decisions. Maintaining focus will also decrease the likelihood that you will allow setbacks or critical comments to throw you off course. Equally important, if you focus on what you are working towards, you will not become complacent because some are enamored with everything you do. Sometimes you can be surrounded by so many well wishes that you start believing your own hype. Just as negative comments shouldn’t deter you, encouragement shouldn’t lessen your productivity.

Failure to stand firm can result in a shift in your behavior due to both criticism and compliments. Words of others cannot negatively impact your level of commitment or dedication. Whether people shout their doubts or sing your praises, stand firm in your pursuit. Glean only the useful information from what others believe about you and most importantly, stand firm in what you believe about yourself.