What Do You Want To Be Known For?

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It’s a question most of never really think about…

Or, if we do, we think about it fleetingly, then tuck it away for some time down the road…when we’ll be able to finally do something about it.

Then, we go about the business of more or less responding to life, just doing what’s in front of us every day. Soon enough, a few minutes turn into a few hours. Then, hours turn into days, days turn into weeks…and, out of nowhere, we find ourselves years down the road, but still no closer to doing what we really want to be doing.

Still, no closer to being known for what we want to be known for…

It’s been on my mind, more recently, because of a comment that blogger and author of Internet Riches, Scott Fox, left on my post about running to catch the sun last week. He shared:

Nice to see some “real” writing in the sea of copywriting, advertorials, and pitches that floats us all along daily online.

That comment was a bit jarring to me…

Because it sent me spiraling back to the fact that one of the things that I truly want to be known for, when I look back on my life, is being a writer.

Not just a purveyor of information, advice or inspiration, no matter how useful those may be. Not a pundit, a blogger, a smart person. But a writer. Someone who cares about and crafts words to bring people into the story, to take them on a journey. To somehow illuminate and change the human condition, if only fleetingly.

That’s what that post about the sun was about. And, that’s what I want to do more of…and be known for.

Does that mean it’s the only thing I want to be known for?

Of course not. Being a loving, involved husband, dad, brother, son, friend and mentor rank high above. But, it’s part of my vision.

I wonder might happen if we all made a concerted effort to step away from the increasingly autopilot nature of life?

To commit to living with more deliberation.

I wonder what might happen if we built into every single day a little time, say 10 minutes in the early morning, to do 3 simple things:

  1. Create and reaffirm a vivid vision of exactly what it is we want to be known for,
  2. Commit to taking a single step in the direction of that vision that day, and
  3. Visualize ourselves taking that step first thing in the morning

Won’t you give it a try? Commit to 30 days and just see what unfolds.

Here’s an opening challenge…

In the comments below, share a single thing that you want to be known for.

It’s a simple step, go public with it, that’s how change begins…that’s how we breath life into being alive.

Share away…

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42 responses

42 responses to “What Do You Want To Be Known For?”

  1. Steve says:

    I’d like to leave a trail of people who passionately and successfully pursued their dreams and lived life from their deep heart

  2. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Steve – I think we definitely share that in common. it’s always been largely about impact for me.

  3. I would like to be known for adding value to people’s lives through my personal development work. Though this is important to me, I would really like to be known worldwide for my work with charities to end hunger worldwide.


  4. Bryan Eye says:

    I’d like to be known for giving more energy back into the universe than I consumed.

  5. Jon says:

    I’m with you on writing, and that neither of us do enough of it. Interestingly, when I’m just writing (as opposed to trying to disseminate information), I get more feedback from my readers and more satisfaction from my work. I wonder that I do little of that ‘just writing’ stuff. Maybe we both should?

    But beyond that, I hope I’m recognized as just a guy who really cares.

  6. […] Go to the author’s original blog: What Do You Want To Be Known For? […]

  7. Billy says:

    Sorry Jonathan, but to be completely honest, even though your blog is good, I don’t think blogging really makes you a writer. I’m sorry.

  8. I want to be known for inspiring people to value themselves and use their strengths to achieve their goals and enjoy happiness and lasting inner joy.

  9. Jonathan, you sure have a way of getting to the heart of a matter. Excellent post and certainly a question we should all examine carefully followed by, “why?” For me it’s really simple. I want to be known for making a worthwhile contribution while staying true to my values and ethics. If others can benefit on some level and I can feel good about what I’ve done, then I’m a happy camper. @Steve, great answer!

  10. Hi Jonathan,

    Good question. I look forward to giving it more thought.

    In the mean time, I’m flattered to have given you the inspiration for this post. Thanks for the big link back to my blog.

    @Billy – why do you question Jonathan’s credentials as a writer? Sounds like you are overly concerned with the platform or tools used when it’s the content that matters.


  11. Jon Berry says:

    I just want to be known as a resourceful and passionate person.

  12. christy says:

    Funny, I’ve only recently begun to see myself as a writer. Worse, it’s that idealistic, make-no-money writer who strives to find truth and speak it for the benefit of others.

    Yeah, even if I never publish anything “great,” I want to be known as a true, pure writer.

  13. Jonathan,
    I am glad you want to be known as a writer. Your post was thoughtful, meaningful and heartfelt. By describing yourself as a writer, and affirming that is what you most want to be, you are.

  14. I want to be known for helping people really enjoy being married.

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  16. Jack says:

    I want to be known for colonizing Mars.

  17. Laurie says:

    There are many forms of publishing. Blogs is one form. If you can communicate your ideas in a way that others learn, enjoy, are inspired etc, then you are a writer. I write short stories that I only share with my email friends and I am considered a writer. Jonathan is a writer.

    I want to be known for loving God and others unashamedly and out loud!

  18. Bryan Eye says:

    Like Laurie said, Jonathan is definitely a writer.

  19. Martin says:

    I want to be known for enjoying life, and sharing the joy.
    Plus I would love to be a writer, being able to communicate is such a valuable tool in life.

    p.s Jonathan your writing tickles my taste buds.

  20. Rachel says:

    I want my message to be known.

    As a person who has been sight impaired all my life and legally blind since about age 30 I’ve learned some important things. I’ve learned that there is a distinction between being disabled and being a person with a disability.

    It is not a disability that will cripple and limit our lives. It is how we THINK that creates limitations and insurmountable barriers.

    I want EVERYONE to learn how to live a limit free life.

    I want my message to be known for changing the way we THINK about disabilities and our idea of what we THINK we can and can not achieve!

  21. Virginia says:

    I think a lot of your readers are aspiring writers. I would love to be known for my writing. It has always been a dream of mine. I have always “lost myself” while creating a story, poem, or a screen play.

    I also have a secret fascination with becoming a female version of Indiana Jones; coming across some brilliant discovery that helps the human species answer the greatest mysteries of the world… :)hehee.

  22. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Everyone – love all the different aspirations. It’s not easy to go public with them, but it’s powerful.

    One of the most common exercises many coaches have their clients do when starting to work with them is to have them write their own eulogy. It’s a bit morbid, but, it’s also incredibly clarifying and can give a lot of energy to your future efforts.

    Any many thanks to all who’ve shared their inspiration for my continued pursuit of being a writer.

    @ Billy – interestingly, I actually agree with you when you say, “even though your blog is good, I don’t think blogging really makes you a writer.”

    Blogging is just a tool, a platform. I also know how to use Illustrator and Dreamweaver and I use them to create webpages and images. But, I don’t consider myself a real designer or developer.

    To me, it’s about two things. One, having a passion that fuels not only a continued pursuit of the activity (writing, my this case), but also a deepening of your knowledge about that activity in a way that allows you to do it better.

    And, two, reaching some level of proficiency. That’s where it gets really subjective. Because the level that lets you feel comfortable calling yourself a writer, developer, designer and more, is subject to a whole lot of interpretation.

    So, no, having a blog doesn’t make me a writer.

    But, my deep quest to study the craft, put what I learn into what I write and establish a certain level of ability does…

    At least that’s what the editors at the magazines I’ve written for and my publisher, Random House/Broadway Books, tell me. 😉

    @ Jack – me too, though I’d settle for the moon!

  23. Susan Kuhn says:

    I want to be known for helping others create good work for themselves, work that gives life meaning, is fun and contributes to more than the bottom line. And for living large in that way myself.

  24. Lance says:

    I really like the idea of this challenge. What a great way to focus on what matters to us.

    I want to be known for helping people on their journey to achieve the lives they desire.

  25. davidcorsaro says:

    I want to be known as someone who everyone trusts.

  26. Lynn says:

    My Oprah “a-ha” moment was when I just blurted out the first thing that came to my mind after your wonderful question.

    I’d like people to say “She taught with passion, and I’ll always remember what she told us.” Hmmmm, can’t believe it- I made my living for 20 years in show business, and somehow that doesn’t seem important in the big picture. I’d rather be known for what I passed on, and for the legacy I’ll leave my daughter.

  27. Susi says:

    I’m not sure that I want/need to be known for these things but I would like to truly live my values of non-violence, compassion, and equanimity every day and have my family, friends, and clients benefit from their merit.

  28. […] 3, 2008 · No Comments On Jonathan Fields blog today he asked a good question. He asked “What Do You Want To Be Known For?“  I […]

  29. Linda O'Tyson says:

    I want to be known as a person who was a living example of the dramatic change, (for the good)-that God can bring about in even the most seemingly hopeless, negative and miserable human being.

  30. Peter James says:

    I want to be known for making a great movie. I have for a long time, and just recently started on my journey towards that goal. Great post.

  31. […] A good pep talk […]

  32. […] Leadership by Example        52 Sunday Evening Meditations on Life What Do You Want To Be Known For? […]

  33. One of the traits of a good writer is that his words move others to get involved or take action. If Jonathan is not a good writer then how come so many of us got involved and took action? So take note Billy, the people have spoken!

  34. I want to be known for improving the environment and making the Earth a better place to live. You’re an amazing writer, so I’m sure things will work out for you.

  35. ep says:

    Jonathan, no words can describe the knot you’ve tied in my brain trying to answer this question.

    I’d like to be remembered for being a leader, someone who dictated his own journey.

    Thanks for the mental workout.

  36. Arlette Lamphere says:

    I want to be known as a Bible teacher / speaker who not only shares the Word, which is first priority, but who lives it in reality so that what they hear, see and feel is Jesus speaking and loving them personally. That is my passion and my heart.

  37. […] isn’t really search related but Jonathan Fields asked a very important question this week: What Do You Want To Be Known For? It’s inspiring and thought-provoking in that warm and gushy way. Give it a read and then go […]

  38. Toni says:

    For rallying woman age 50+ to enjoy their lives and have some fun with growing older. No matter whether you like it or hate it it is going to happen. So I say enjoy it.

  39. […] What Do You Want To Be Known For? | Awake At The Wheel What would you like to be known for? Create & reaffirm a vivid vision of exactly what it is we want to be known for, Commit to taking a single step in the direction of that vision that day, & Visualize ourselves taking that step first thing in the morning […]

  40. Like you Jonathan, I want to be remembered as a writer and a mentor. The kind of writer who encourages people to open their hearts, think about their life, their choices, who they could be, who they WANT to be.

    I also want to be remembered as a fine friend and a devoted mother and family member. As an everyday person who lived their life with great heart, integrity and passion. Chasing rainbows, climbing mountains and connecting with people as I wander across this world.

    You’re right, we do need to keep this vision of our life in mind. It can be very easy to get caught up int he day to day and our more short term or practical goals.


  41. Great article. Real and refreshing. Giving back – that’s one thing i want to be known for.

  42. Aysel Yaman says:

    On professional level, I would like to be known as someone who made a successful career out of a hobby!
    On a spiritual level I want to be known for helping all of those whom I have touched and who have touched me, if everyone did that within their own raduis, there would be no-one left in need…..