One of my great passions when it comes to speaking or coaching is getting the most out of life. We say that life is short but do we live like it is? Yeah, when our time feels really short we go like gangbusters. That’s why most people get more done that day or two before vacation than they do in a typical week. But if life, and I mean all of life, is short then when don’t we do a better job of making the most of it. It seems that some parts we make the most of and some we just waste. I’m probably a little more focused on making the most of the time that we have because of current challenges in my personal life. My best friend, Freddie, has been fighting a battle with cancer for quite some time and even though his treatment is going okay at the moment it’s only a matter of time. There is only so much he can do; he’s put up quite a fight but the cancer is winning most of the battles now. He is courageous and has such a wonderful attitude; I admire him so much. Over the last couple of weeks the focus has been on my brother. He had a double bypass about 12 years ago and a couple of months ago half of that bypass failed. They stabilized it and were monitoring it but he just had a hard time recovering. Eventually some other symptoms showed up that needed further investigation. Last week, my brother, my sister and I spent some long days at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. My brother has liver cancer and it is spread out through various organs already. There is a slight chance it can be slowed down but there’s no killing this beast that is swallowing him up from the inside. His time is limited. Now my efforts will be to help him to make sure that he has everything in order so that when the time comes we only have to focus on saying goodbye. I’m lucky that we have a strong relationship and he knows how I feel about him. I made a commitment years ago to make sure that people I care about know of their importance to me and how I feel about them. Obviously, these special people and their battles greatly increase my feelings about the importance of honoring our gift of life and breathing it in as often as possible.
When I ask about making the most of life, I don’t necessarily mean going on cruises or buying the best of everything. That can certainly be a part of it but even if we do those things more than most folks it’s still a small portion of our time. We need to live life with vigor between the high points that we plan out from time to time. I always take a couple of vacations each year and I love them and I enjoy the anticipation in the months, weeks, and days before they actually happen. That’s still only a portion of my life. I have created a beautiful paradise behind my house. Well, it’s paradise to me, because I appreciate it so much. I often feel like I’m on vacation on my pavilion when I’m having supper out there or playing my guitar. When I was out riding my bike this afternoon I was noticing the beautifully crafted backyards that some people have with all the decks and gardens and fire pits and fountains; I also noticed that I seldom even see people out enjoying these wonderful spaces that I pedal past. I’m not about to judge any of these people, that’s not my place. It just reminds me to invest in the things that I find most important to me. Even if we make the most of our evenings, or weekends, or holidays, that’s not enough. We need to experience life during the week, during the work day, anytime that we are awake. I believe it was Steven Covey that said we shouldn’t be focusing on ‘getting through the day’ but instead make our mantra to ‘get from the day’. Believe me, I love my time on vacation or in my paradise most of all and put a great deal of thought into how to create wonderful moments whenever I can but how I live the rest of my life day-to-day probably has the greatest impact on how I view a life well spent.
If you want to live a powerful legacy, make it how people see you live each day. You don’t determine the amount of impact what you do has on others. It happens based on how people see you and where everything else is in their life. You don’t control that. You can’t. However the amount of quality of life you push out to others will have the greatest impact. It increases the likelihood that when all things are aligned for that other person and you deliver the magic of how you live your life; the impact will be beyond whatever you imagine. Think of the instances that have influenced you the most in your life. It likely wasn’t scripted. It was what you needed when you needed it. Live life fully every day. It will fulfill you and it may impact others beyond your comprehension whether you know about it or not. My life is wonderful partially because I regularly ask myself, “am I making the most out of life?” and then I make sure that I am and drink up every moment.