What Matters Most

whatmatters

Many people make resolutions, vowing to do things differently in the coming year.  Some people choose to live from “One Word”, letting that word give their lives direction and focus.  Either way, the intention is to create forward progress in our lives, and that’s a good thing!

Ultimately, the New Year is a perfect time to take inventory – of the past, present and future.  I was recently inspired by my friend Amy Volk to take a look at my life through a three-word question – “What Matters Most?”.  I was fooled by its simplicity, thinking it would be a breeze to catalog what matters most to me.

But this question requires that we dig deep to determine what REALLY matters most!  What I love about this question is that it distinguishes the landmarks that help keep us on track during our journey.  What matters most isn’t necessarily related to an end result or a big goal, instead it directly influences the steps we take in our day to day living.

We can choose to compartmentalize what matters to you most, and answer that question in relationship to your career, your family or your fitness.  However, with this being my first time tackling this exercise, I prefer to answer the question on a more general basis.  What matters most in my life, regardless of what role I’m playing.  So here goes…..

WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME…..

Live an authentic life – I lived much of my younger life not liking who I was, and therefore trying to be something other than me.  ME is who I am!  I don’t want to run from the truth any longer, I want to embrace it and be AUTHENTIC, and in so doing, hopefully give others the freedom to do the same.

whatmatters15

Make time to be quiet – I’m discovering that I have a pattern of filling my life up with things to do, to a point of overwhelm.  Typically, there is never enough time to simply fulfill my commitments, let alone take time to be QUIET, reflect, and connect with the universe.  Making time to be quiet has become essential to my well being.

JOY – Be joy, do joy, have joy!  Having lived this past year with JOY as my one word – it has become an integral part of who I am, and I don’t ever want to live without it again!

Be present and live in the moment – I have few regrets over the course of my life.  I do believe everything happens for a reason and I’m grateful for all the life lessons I’ve experienced.  If I were to get a do-over, the biggest change I would make is to live life PRESENT!  I missed way too much of my life by focusing on the conversations I was having in my head, with myself, instead of fully engaging, participating and connecting with what I was experiencing or who I was relating to.  I’m learning that when I am 100% present in the moment, regardless of what I’m doing, my life feels fuller.

whatmatters6

Make a difference – It wasn’t until my recent past that I began to really distinguish my ability to make a difference.  Perhaps it started once I got out of my head and stopped having so many conversation with myself (LOL!).  But I can honestly say I have become addicted to the feeling of contributing to others and making a DIFFERENCE.

Be a student of life – I don’t necessarily have a picture or expectation of exactly what this looks like.  I just know I want to live the opposite of a stagnant, predictable life.  Trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone, and being scared, all give me the opportunity to experience a bigger life and discover more about myself and the world we live in.

Cherish my relationships – As I filled my life up with things to do, to finish, to succeed in, to accomplish….it left me little to no room for my relationships.  When it’s all said and done, what I’ve accomplished doesn’t impact me nearly as much as who I am in relationship with!  Regardless if it’s a 3 minute interaction with the grocery store clerk, a 30 minute conversation with my Dad, a  2 hour lunch with a friend, or an evening out with the family – the quality of the interaction and connection far outweighs the quantity of time spent.

whatmatters8

Be grateful – There is nothing more powerful than putting life into perspective through gratitude.  Discovering the practice of daily gratitude has made the life I have, the life I live, perfect just the way it is!

LOVE – I can’t fully speak to this one yet.  I haven’t totally owned it, but all signs are pointing towards LOVE as my one word for 2014.  I know in my heart that LOVE matters most, and as this year unfolds and I embrace it, experience it, seek it out, share it, and speak it – I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to write about love!

Wow – what a gut check!  I’ve mastered some elements of what matters most to me (joy and gratitude for sure).  But I clearly have some work to do in other areas.  Regardless of my destination, I will keep the things that matter most with me, knowing they will be the landmarks that keep me on track for my journey!

whatmatters2

Ready for a gut check too?  What matters most to you?

with Joy & Gratitude,

 

The Courage to be Authentic

robin2

Two weeks ago my family and I sat in our living room together and watched the ESPY awards, which honors excellence in sports.  The highlight of the evening for me was when Robin Roberts received the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage’ award.  Robin was the first African American woman to become a sportscaster with ESPN.  After 15 years, she accepted the opportunity to challenge herself by joining the Good Morning America team to report the news.

When hurricane Katrina hit her hometown in Mississippi, she was personally touched by this tragedy.  Although reporters are not supposed to show emotion, as she was on location, she couldn’t hold back the tears.  She was sure she’d be fired, but the viewers were touched by her emotion and embraced her.

robin3

Two years later, Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She did not retreat, but instead chose to share her entire journey,  fighting breast cancer, with the public.  If that wasn’t enough, last year she underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder that was caused by her cancer treatments.  Again, she made her battle public, and allowed the viewers to experience her treatment with her, even in her darkest hours.

robin5

Robin wasn’t courageous for battling cancer and a blood disorder.  Fighting for one’s life is human nature, something we would all do if faced with that challenge.  Robin was courageous for sharing her journey with the world.  She brought us into her hospital room and the treatment center, exposing her good days and her bad ones.  She allowed us to see her at her weakest, most vulnerable places both physically and emotionally.  Every emotion she experienced, we experienced right along side her.

authentic3

Robin didn’t receive this award for what she did, for her accomplishments.  She was recognized for who she is.  Robin Roberts received this award for her courage to be AUTHENTIC!  To be real, to be genuine, to not hide from the truth.  People are not inspired by perfection, they are inspired by authenticity.

Arthur Ashe once told Robin that ‘if all people say about you is that you were a heck of a journalist, then you haven’t fulfilled your potential’.  Robin bared her soul for all the world to see in the hopes that it would make a difference, and it has.  She has made a greater single impact on the bone marrow registry than anyone.

Authentic

I’ve lived much of my life believing that my self worth was based on my accomplishments.  I’ve given that up for a new belief that it’s all about the relationships, the connections, the contributions we can make to each other!  When we choose to be authentic, to tell the ugly truth instead of hiding behind the pretty lie, we connect with people on a deeper level and in turn give them a safe place to be authentic too.

People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did.

But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Go out in the world and be AUTHENTIC – it will impact the way you make people feel!

with Joy & Gratitude,