George Bernard Shaw said:
To be used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brithly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
I keep coming back to this…the notion of service and significance
Big picture and little picture. Global impact, local impact. I cannot rally to every cause, nor am I drawn to. One person’s all-consuming mission is not necessarily mine. But, for those that have meaning to me, be it growing a happy, loving, connected family or helping people grow businesses and careers that allow for greater self-determination…
It’s always been about impact.
And, I wonder, am I making a difference on some level? If so, how will I know? What’s my metric?
So, I made a short list that I now look at each day, just as a way of reminding myself of the value I place on significant actions. It doesn’t stop me from wasting time, that still happens more than I’d like. Instead it serves as a reminder, something I can regularly refer back to as a vehicle to refocus on what matters most.
Here it is:
- Have I served my community today, be it local or global?
- Have I given without expectation of receiving today?
- Have I done something to take care of my mind?
- Have I done something to take care of my body?
- Have I done something to take care of my spirit?
- Have I mentored, taught, helped or coached someone?
- Have I created something that will impact someone else?
- Have I been present and involved with my family?
- Have I been there for my friends and colleagues?
- Have I led with compassion?
- Am I leaving a footprint I am proud of?
- Have I given anonymously?
Do I always tick off every item on the list every day? Not a chance.
Some days, I hit all 12 (it’s the rare day), most days I hit about half, other days, none. Regardless, it serves as a powerful “significance feedback loop,” a tool to keep me aspiring in the right direction and to hold me accountable to taking significant acts on a daily basis.
So, I am curious…
How do you define significance?
What’s your metric?
What else can you add to the list?
How would you customize it for yourself?
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