Driving to work one morning last week, I was stopped at a light behind a large SUV, the woman driver scurrying madly through rush-hour traffic. Her vehicle proudly displayed two college decals, one from Harvard and the other from Dartmouth.
“Wow!” I thought. This mom’s got a couple of really smart cookies on her hands.
The light changed to green and as she got a little further ahead of me, I noticed a bumper sticker at the bottom of her SUV which read: “I have no idea where I’m going.”
What a contrast! This mom who raised two kids smart enough to gain entry into two of the toughest schools in the world…and she has no idea where she’s going?!? (“B-I-M-B-O” crossed the synapses of my brain…)
If you wake up in the morning without a plan, with no idea of where you’re going, how in the heck are you going to get anywhere worthwhile? How are you going to enjoy the dizzying liberation that naturally flows out of living a life with purpose? With no roadmap, no idea of where you’re going, the prospect of waking up to the same old same old, the humdrum, the mundane responsibilities that face all of us: getting breakfast ready for the family, separating the reds from the whites, driving carpool, fetching groceries, answering old emails…you’re likely not “zoo-ed” up to even get your tired little feet out of bed!
I’m not dismissing the role of motherhood, or its everyday oftentimes mundane realities. Hardly. I’ve been doing its drills for twenty years, quite happily thankyouverymuch. And children or no children, we all face everyday tasks that are capable of draining the lifeblood out of the most enthusiastic amongst us. Let’s face it: few people face those proverbial four daily loads of laundry or paying overdue emails with unabashed gusto!
But there’s more available. And it’s well within reach.
This weekend found me in Washington, D. C. for an annual conference of like-minded men and women across the country. It offered leadership training of the highest caliber. Having attended this forum regularly for the past ten years, I always look forward to reconnecting with old friends and to making new ones during the September conference ritual. I hung out, as usual, with three of my favorite women on the planet; Alyse and LaNeil are each eighty-two years old and Shirley is sixty-five. They each possess vitality rarely seen in people half their age. Their faces glow. Their eyes twinkle. They are warm and wonderful, healthy and vibrant, curious and generous.
They devote their time to causes which they enthusiastically embrace. They are passionate. They work diligently. Without pay, they serve as foot soldiers for the critical issues of our time. They have something to wake up for. They have a following; people depend on their leadership. Young people rely on their mentoring. Still others seek their wisdom and knowledge of the issues in an effort to become better equipped to deliver the same message with vigor to listeners entangled in their own network of friends and associates.
One of the secrets of discovering your significance is to find that for which you were created. I can assure you: we were not created to live in isolation. Nor in self-serving, self-indulgent behaviors that bring immediate but short-lived satisfaction. We were created for community. For service. For expanding our little corner of the universe for the benefit of others. To take on missions larger than self with far-reaching implications for the generations to follow.
If you are looking for a secret to living with exuberant vitality, find a cause. Join a mission. Seek to connect your inner passion with the vision of someone who has come before you. With one who is working in the center of the universe to effect massive change.
Want glowing skin? Sparkling eyes? A youthful bounce to your step? Longevity? Vitality? Find something to wake up for. Be it your own kids or your spouse, your neighborhood or your elected officials, worldwide hunger or inexcusable illiteracy: get involved! It’ll help you put that foot on the floor every morning and encourage you to truly get up and at ’em.
Onward and upward!