Leaders lead by example. Remember the old saying, “more is caught than taught?” Well now is your time to shine and lead by example!
Often I find myself wondering how to respond to pictures of the poor on magazine covers. When I’m at the gym, watching one of five TV screens, I often see videos of the poor and I feel guilty. Why was I blessed to be born in such a wealthy country? What could I do to help? Then I’ll grab a bottle of fresh water, rehydrate myself and forget my good intentions.
Most of us take clean drinking water for granted, yet over 1 billion people in the world still lack access to clean, safe water. Children are weak and sick. There is a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. The lack of safe water worldwide is a crisis. It steals the lives of 5,500 people each day. More than war, natural disasters, AIDS or hunger. Much to our shame, this rarely makes headlines. It is today’s silent killer.
Stop right there! That’s the place where together we can make a big difference. There is a simple guilt-free solution!
It’s time to get personal and share with you some of my journey to redirecting my own story. Wondering about how to make a difference? Want to redirect your journey?
In Finding Your Purpose, by Regi Campbell, an eBook on his blog Radical Mentoring there is a simple analogy; “if your life is a dollar bill, what are you spending it on?’ The average person meets over 10,000 people during their lifetime. That’s 10,000 opportunities! It’s often small things that are done that accumulate to a big difference. Don’t overlook the little things!
Young or old, we all wonder if our life is going to make a difference? We all want to find purpose in life and make our lives count for something. But how do we find out where to invest our time and our money? It’s not enough for us to do our best. We need to figure out God’s plan for our lives and THEN do our best. But where do you turn to for insight?
God through the apostle Paul provides illumination
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Every day, 1 billion people wake up to another day without safe drinking water. Children are sick and weak. There’s a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. Poverty grips 80% of the worlds’ population and won’t let go. The lack of safe drinking water is a crisis worldwide.
Here’s how this applies you. Watch this 3 minute video.
This young girl wants to buy 1,000,000 chickens – doesn’t that video make you scream – “what can I do to apply this teaching to my life to make a difference?” Through this and other events in my life, I realized being generous meant drilling wells as the most cost effective way to help the most people. But not everyone’s called to do this. However, everyone can make a difference by asking “how many people will I try to help”?
This is thin ice I’m stepping on; after all as Canadians we pride ourselves in helping around the world. But I really want you to wrestle with this for yourself. Don’t think about an image that we project and protect. Think about reality!
Sometimes you need to look back to move forward. Looking back in history we uncover how people connected on the basis of their shared values and ideas. When they connected they started communities, companies, revolutions – they made a difference. What about BIG differences today?
Do you want to begin making a difference ?. Someone who has already made a huge difference is Seth Godin. Seth is an entrepreneur and the most popular business blogger in the world. He makes some profound observations about marketing ideas in this digital age. He often tells people “Go make a difference”. I wonder how to make big changes first in myself, then in people around me. All leadership starts with self, then leading others.
There are probably some things you believe in. We all have dreams, passions and desires. But how do you lead others to believe in your hobby, interest, business, or cause? William James said “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
Invest in learning how to think and not just what to think. Consider new ideas and change your future prospects. That’s what millionaires do, they share an approach to the future that highlights possibilities and outcomes that others ignore.
How many young people do you know that are at the stage of making a career choice? One very important factor in vocation is compensation.
“After studying millionaires for more than 20 years, I have concluded that if you make one major decision correctly, you can become economically productive. If you are creative enough to select the ideal vocation you can win, win big time. The really brilliant millionaires are those who selected a vocation that they love – one that has few competitors and generates high profits.”
90% of deca millionaires graduated from college, but view themselves as average academically; however, vocational choice made the biggest difference for most of them!
“What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know.…The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do…. to find the idea for which I can live and die.”
Working for success often does not bring us the fulfillment and sense of an idea worth living for, rather it leaves us wanting more. Discovering our strengths and using them to help make a difference that changes the world; that is the idea that Kierkegaard struggled to define. Where do you start to make such a big difference and capture an inner heartbeat that sets the timing for your life?
In most of the western world people have “two lives”. Our first life is the typical work life from 20 to 60 years old. Our second is the 20 to 30 extra years of life. In the developing world like Kenya, where I’ve just returned from, the average life expectancy is 45 years old. Like generations before us, they don’t have the benefit of this second stage of life.
“The 20th century is the first in which substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have real choices about how they will invest their time and talent. . . . Most people are totally unprepared for it.”
Peter Drucker, Renowned Business Expert
If we have no historical framework to base this extra time on what are we to do? How are we to find that one ideawe can live and die for? With 5,000 advertising messages high jacking our attention, how are we to know if we are being effective and doing the right things?
God provides illumination, meaning, purpose and hope in his word the Bible.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In the movie Pay It Forward a fictional social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Then put it in action.
One student passionately contrives a plan of paying forward good deeds for 3 other people. Choose the people do the good deeds. The story unfolds his actions which not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but also starts a wave of human kindness that grows into a national movement to change the world.
A feel good movie that stirs in everyone who watches it the good intentions to put the concept into practice. It’s exciting to think that a small act on our part can have big and far reaching impact. But for many that intention just fizzles – it gets parked along with the other “someday” to-dos. That’s how it used to be for me. But I’ve learned something.
Few things shock me anymore, when it comes to finances. More than two thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Only 42% of Canadians can answer 3 simple financial literacy questions. Let’s start teaching our youth that financial planning is essential because you can either learn to control money or money will control you.
In homebuilding, God blessed the work of our hands. Now I mentor and teach others about personal finance. I acquired my wisdom the slow steady way over many years. I have no financial services product to sell or vested interest. But where do you turn to encourage, motivate and inspire your kids before they feel lost, hopeless, or in over their heads?
For me the wisest and richest man who ever lived, King Solomon provides illumination.
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil but a foolish man devours all he has.
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.