In the last couple months, we've discovered how little money, busy schedules, or even how much fame we have obtained mattered to our lives. We learned it's not the things we have acquired but people we connect with that are important. I'm watching as so many people are looking to make their mark during these times. It's inspiring to watch masks be created, food distributed, and even drive by birthdays for neighbors we probably didn't even know lived next door to us back in January.
I believe we were born with a deep desire to do something "more" with our lives than just live and accumulate. Read this:
“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter so the world will be at least be a little bit different for our having passed through it.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner
Did you see it? The four words above that stood out to me were "a little bit different." It's not that everyone is built to save thousands of lives, open orphanages, or inspire at the next Ted Conference. We just need to make our mark. You and I want to know that this world is a bit different because we lived in it. We hope It will be a little better when we left it than it was when we entered it.
As you read the above your head nods and your heart beats. We can't help it. We were created to fulfill purpose. I don't believe the issue is wanting to make a difference. I believe most of us aren't sure how. Where do we start? What do we do to leave our mark?
I've been searching for that answer for some time. I don't have all the answers but I not long ago I learned something I want to share with you. In his book, Intentional Living, John Maxwell says the key to making a difference starts with asking three questions. I'll give you the three questions along with my raw answers. Then I have a challenge for you.
Question #1 - What makes you cry?
What do you see that breaks your heart? What impacts you so deeply it causes you to take action? What makes you uncomfortable or causes emotional pain?
My answer: My heart brakes for the one person who is left out. The boy or girl that sits alone because they feel alone. The man who doesn't show his real self because he fears rejection. The woman who has bought into the lie that her life doesn't matter. People who believe they are invisible. The one who goes through life wishing for more but never pursuing it because they don't recognize how valuable they are and what they have to offer the world.
Question #2 - What makes you sing?
I'll admit this one felt weird at first. The idea is this: What brings you joy? What makes you happy every time you see it or experience it? What makes life feel like a musical and puts a skip in your step? What removes the fog from your day? You get the idea.
My answer: My heart sings when I make a stranger smile. I love to laugh and I love making others laugh even more. My day is full when I help someone experience hope, even for a moment. My life is better when I'm I help another person feel special, seen, or worthy of greatness. Helping bring out the light in the life of people who have seen so many dark days is music to my ears!
Question #3 - What do you dream about?
This is the long term question. If you had all the resources and could do anything to make the world better, what would you do? This question gets answered over and over and continues to grow as we do.
My answer: I'd expose value on a nationwide level. I'd start a movement of people who are professional observers. People who notice the one sitting alone, missing their potential, and feeling unneeded or unwanted. I'd equip others to offer hope to hopeless and expose their invaluable worth which would cause a chain reaction.
You'll find your path toward impact in your world when you begin to answer these questions. These are parts of my answers. They don't mean I'll start an organization next year but they do help me to see how I can add significance today.
Let me encourage you the way Maxwell encouraged me. Just write. Don't analyze your answers. Just begin to write. You'll be amazed what you discover. You'll also be surprised at how quickly you can begin leaving your mark.