When the possibility of death is a reality you tend to look at your life differently. I found myself in a hospital bed last fall, not being able to remember my name or the names of my loved ones due to a bout with Viral Encephalitis. While I was there I had the opportunity to reflect on my calling in life. I learned a hard truth: “My calling may be important to me, but it’s not about me.”
After my scare with death I read the book Leader Shift, by leadership author John Maxwell. In the book he taught five principles. 1. Be willing to give beyond yourself. 2. Serve beyond yourself. 3. Think beyond yourself. 4. Love beyond yourself. 5. See beyond yourself.
I would like to focus on two of these principles. First is to serve beyond your-self. I am reminded of the quote by tom Brokaw “it’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot harder to make a difference.” I realized that I needed to have a greater awareness of how to serve my family, friends and people in general. When we take the time to focus on the needs of others through service we allow ourselves the opportunity make meaningful connections. I realized that I was using my calling as a speaker to gain wealth, fame, achievement and social media likes and follows. Now I am focused on serving others through the platform of speaking. I am laser focused on loosing myself in the service of others. I have done more dishes in the last month to last a life time, I have driven my daughter to work when the roads were bad due to snow, I refurbished a favorite piece of furniture for my sweet wife and I have changed some seriously disgusting diapers for my grandkids. Lets all make a difference through service.
Second, Love beyond yourself. I am reminded of the famous quote, “Loving others is the best part of life.” This year my power word is love; here it is on my phone written in Japanese as a constant reminder to love others and to love everything I do in life. It is easy to love family and close friends, but I am talking about the kind of love that extends to those who have wronged you, and those that despise you and even to those that cut you off on the freeway. I discovered that I was falling short on loving others. I was quick to anger or easily annoyed by strangers and those closest to me. Since my hospital stay I have tried to look for the best in others. I have strengthened family relationships, spent more quality time with family and close friends. I have rediscovered that loving others truly is the best part of life.
Remember that your calling is important to you, but that it’s not about you.