Sunday, March 21, 2010
Your Life's Slogan
What if your entire life, all your thoughts, your communication, actions, interactions, pursuits, and demands could be condensed into a single message? What would it be? What would your significant friends, co-workers and family say? What would they declare was your most prominent life statement? Would the two be aligned?
Every big organization has a single message called a slogan. Think about it. IBM: We Make IT happen. Airbus: Setting the Standard. Dell Computer: Get More Out of Now. American Express: Do More and, of course, Nike’s unforgettable slogan “Just Do It.“ You may not know it, but we are all walking billboards, and I’m not talking about Aunt Millie’s backside. Each of us displays a prominent message.
If you don’t believe me, then try this. Think of someone in your life. This could be a parent, a friend, a co-worker, an acquaintance, or even someone you watch, occasionally, on TV. What message do they most prominently display? I am thinking now of someone in my organization. She displays this message, “You must meet organizational rules, no matter how inane.“ Another one I know communicates “Kindness Matters.” She is gentle with everyone, including herself. Another shows me how to “Live Life with Gusto!“ Still another walks around displaying a rickety sign that pretty much says, “Life Sucks!” With each person, one message leaps out at me. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what message you are advertising everyday? Wouldn’t it behoove all of us to chose a message that resonated with our heart and then present that to the world? Wouldn’t it be truly grand to then live that message everyday?
I had a friend who did this up until his untimely death. He always inspired me. After each interaction, every conversation my spirits felt lifted. His message was “I am Going to Inspire You,“ and that was the gift he bestowed upon his friends. Extremely creative, a talented artist, an all-around good guy, he always motivated me to want to be a better person, a better father, someone who made a difference in this world. Of course he did a million other things too, but at his core, radiating through his every pore, ringing true through every sentence, ingrained in every tone, and communicated through every gesture was the genuine and very moving message of inspiration.
Just think, if you knew what your core message to the world was, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to decide what you wanted to pursue, what you invested your time and energy to? Wouldn’t it be more clear what career path looked most attractive and which ones did not? Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid the endless web of distractions that await all of us who are confused about who we are and what we want to be in relation to others?
So if you are having difficulty deciding what your next “big thing,” will be, I suggest you begin by looking at who you are at your core, then find something, anything that aligns with it. Jump in and see what happens. That way you’ll learn whether or not the activity really does align with your core slogan. You may discover that it does not quite fit or that your slogan needs some revision. That’s good too. Keep refining, until you find yourself…in your life’s message. Once you do, you will live your life better focused, more clear, and less distracted. In short, you will feel a sense of fulfillment that you may not have felt before. What’s even better, you’ll not only accomplish more, you’ll accomplish more of what is truly important to you. So stop carrying around that billboard with eyes half shut. Look up and revise it if you need to. Then go live your life, aligned with your core message and focused with clarity on what matters. Do that and I guarantee you, you will feel inspired.