“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
We may use different words, express it in different ways but a meaningful life and the power to create your BEST YEAR YET comes down to a very simple idea: ‘I want to matter.’
We create a meaningful life when we know:
- What I think matters…
- What I do matters…
- What I say matters…
- How I live matters…
- You matter…
- We matter…
- Life matters…
- I matter… I discover the power inside, through creating my own life story of significance.
The Search for Meaning
The search for personal meaning or the search for significance in life is not selfish, it is human. No man, or woman, is an island – purpose and meaning in life are linked to making a contribution – to others, to our community, to the world.
Our story doesn’t have to be grand by the world’s standards but our contribution has to be important by our own measure. As we take action, as we contribute, the significance and sense of meaning are unlocked in our lives. Whether you have ever considered it possible or not, your life can be a great story of ongoing connection, contribution and growth!
How We Contribute Everyday
- When we care for and grow ourselves.
- You cannot give what you do not have.
- We set an example by our own lives that others will follow.
- Through making connections.
- Connections with others provide the understanding and opportunity to contribute.
- For more on connections see Step 2 of Creating Your Best Year Yet, the subject of last weeks’ blog.
- By starting now, today.
- We don’t wait till we ‘get good’.
- We contribute now and in the process, we learn and grow and our contribution improves – we get good in the process.
- By using our strengths and gifts.
- There are things you can do That I cannot do and there are things I can do that you cannot do. Together we can do great things.
- When we ask, ‘What is needed here and what can I bring to that?’ and then
- Sometimes what is needed is not something we are good at yet but we can learn.
- When we stop trying and start doing.
- Action changes things
- Action cures fear.
- When we intentionally choose to show up as the best we can be.
- We can never be someone else. We are us. We choose to show up as the best version of ourselves.
- When we stop asking, “What am I going to receive?” and ask instead, “What can I give?”
“To be significant, all you have to do is make a difference with others, wherever you are, with whatever you have, day by day…
When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters.”
John C Maxwell, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters
Whatever You Call It
Making a difference, living a life that matters, living a life of significance, or a life of purpose, or a meaningful life…whatever you call it does not matter. What matters is that you contribute – not just of what you have, but most importantly, from who you are.
John Maxwell puts the idea into what he calls The Intentional Living Manifesto:
I Want to Make a Difference
Doing Something That Makes a Difference
With People Who Make a Difference
At a Time That Makes a Difference*
You may prefer to say it this way:
I Want to Matter
Doing Something That Matters
With People Who Matter
At a time That Matters
The Contribution Required
What happens when our best is not enough? There are tasks and challenges that if we attempt them today, even at our very best, we will fail. We are not ready, we may not be equipped, or strong enough or…That does not mean we don’t contribute – it means we intentionally grow. We do what takes to become the person who can do what is required successfully.
It is said that dreams come in a size too big so we have to grow into them.
Sometimes it means we connect with others – we then collaborate and co-operate, we create synergy and together, make a contribution bigger than would be possible alone.
I Want To Matter So I Choose to Matter
One of the quotes that have most impacted me personally, is –
“Choice, not chance determines destiny.” Calendar Quote
We choose to get outside our comfort zone and contribute – It will not happen accidentally.
We choose to learn new things and grow ourselves to make an even greater contribution. It will not happen by chance.
We choose a life of meaning, a life that matters…
I Choose, You Choose
If you want to matter, it is your choice and your choice alone.
This is one of the things, like push-ups to build fitness, that no-one can do for you.
You choose what and how you give, what and how you contribute…
And unless what you give includes giving of yourself it will never feel enough…
Giving to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ brings no satisfaction. It NEVER feels enough…Get clear on what you want to do, on something you can contribute and start now.
Start Where You Are…
Start where you are with what you have…do whatever you can NOW. Is there a team or organisation you care about? Find a place where you can volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to start that opens doors to new experiences, new people, new skills and often increased opportunities and income. If you are not volunteering somewhere you may be missing out on exciting adventures, great friendships and possibly more.
Be More, Do More, Have More – It always comes in that order but it also has a growth loop! The more we do the better we become. Have a great holiday season and I look forward to serving you more in the New Year.
*John C Maxwell, Intentional Living, p23
Brendon Burchard devotes a whole chapter to the drive for Contribution in His powerful book, The Charge.