From the second you grasp that you have the power to have a positive impact on the people around you, most people work to do just that. Prior to that flash of insight, we’re usually occupied with everyday life, often forgetting to add meaning to our actions or ask why we feel unsatisfied. Suddenly, however, you wake up one day and the world is different. As if from a dream, you realize that you want people to look back on your life and remember the good things you did; that you lived a life of significance.
There are five areas to consider when your world changes in a blink of an eye.
When you address each of them honestly, you will be taking the first steps towards leading a life that matters.
1) Community: Affect Lives
You don’t have to change the world in a magnificent way; things that seem small in the moment can matter. The next time you go anywhere, have a look at the name badge of the person helping you. That nametag is a chance for connection. They aren’t just tools for your use. They have their own dreams and being treated with respect by you can make or break their day. Do you think that they live to give you your change, fetch you that pair of fancy heels, or even take your blood pressure? How about try and make their day with the smallest of things.
It can be as easy as saying their name. Maybe tell them yours. I promise it won’t hurt. You might be surprised by how simply acknowledging someone by saying their name and thanking them for their efforts can make them smile, change their day, and in turn, change yours.
2) Personal: Remember Yourself
News flash; you are irreplaceable. As many coaches say, “you are unique.” I know there are days when you don’t feel that way. You feel like you are just another tooth on a big sprocket. Or perhaps you feel forced to fit into a mold that is not of your making. Maybe you loved the job when you started, but now it’s crushing your soul. Ask yourself; does this job, this relationship, or this activity, help give your life meaning, or is it something you have just always done? How do you know? How do you figure it out? A coach can help, but one way to help yourself is to start writing down your thoughts. Many famous actions, and ways of being in the world have resulted from ideas written down in quiet contemplation. Give it a try
3) Physical: Your Body Is Not a Tent
Like the lyrics in the Jimmy Buffet song, “I treat my body like a temple, you treat yours like a tent.” You only get one body. No trade-ins, up or down, so take good care of it. Some people try to blame their genetics. Maybe they’re not slender enough, tall enough, big enough, heavy enough, or something else. If you don’t want to be accountable for your life, just blame someone else. But before YOU start to blame others, ask yourself which blamer do you know that is remembered fondly?
4) Internal: Look After Your Spirit
Who are we, really? In reality, do you have a sure sense of self? Are you just a bag of bones encased in muscle, skin, and flesh? You might have never thought about it that way, but that’s a reality of what we are—on a corporeal level—flesh and blood. On the other hand, there’s a spiritual level as well. Yes, Virginia, when you have the two aligned where your sense of self includes recognition of, and respect for, a spiritual side, you will find the world contains meaning. Recognition and being remembered will come with that understanding.
5) Mental: You Control Your Thoughts
Our minds don’t tell us what we feel. Our minds tell us what we think about what we feel. The key is to be aware of this. Some people let emotions get in the way of things and this causes their brain to glitch. There have been some deep and inspiring insights into different fields focused on thought. If you have an idea that echoes with people, you will be remembered as relevant, for a moment is relevant forever, even if only in history.
So, there you go, five ways to start living a life of significance. What will you address first to have the impact on the world that you know you can have?
Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach (CPC) and certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA).