Are you living with purpose and passion? As I shared in my last issue, I have been moved to look at what life lessons I could learn after attending the funeral of an inspiring, loving teacher and mother who lost her battle with leukemia. It was a shocking loss and I looked for the wisdom that can be available when someone with such brilliance and heart passes on.
In the interim, this conversation of looking at what legacy we want to leave the world has been made even more poignant with the recent death of Randy Pausch. This 47-year old college professor diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only 6 months to live, delivered to his students and his three young children what has become known as “The Last Lecture.” With wit, wisdom and heart-breaking honesty, he outlined his philosophy of how to achieve your…childhood dreams. It has now become a best-selling book and the lecture itself has been viewed online by millions.
When faced with a tragedy or loss, ultimately we have a choice to make about the meaning we will take from it. One choice is to shut down in grief, anger or denial. Another option is to dig deep within that loss to find clues as to how we can fine-tune or re-orient ourselves to live with true purpose and passion. Below I share the rest of the lessons I’ve learned from these deaths.
4. Maintain A Balance
One important lesson is to maintain balance in life. My friend had a full-time job as teacher and as the mother of three young children. She had lots of reasons to be busy enough with those occupations. Yet she indulged in her passions for literature, travel, music and sports. Keeping her personal passions alive and active allowed her to bring even more of her true essence in her relationships and her roles of mother and teacher.
Food for Thought: What are your passions and are you enjoying them now? If not, make a mid-course correction and make room for what brings you joy.
5. It’s a Matter of Perspective
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the daily struggles and challenge. We lose our perspective “sweating the small stuff.” Keep the big picture in mind. Is this issue that’s causing you grief today going to matter in 20 or 30 years? Likely not. Having health, a roof over your head and food on the table is something many people in the world do not enjoy. What if we chose to be grateful for the daily struggles because they help us uncover our inner strength, resilience and talents?
Food for Thought: In the big scheme of things, is this issue really critical? What can you find to be grateful for in your present circumstances?
6. The Gift of The Brick Wall
We all suffer setbacks and challenges to varying degrees. Going through a divorce can feel like hitting a brick wall for many. Yet in those dark moments of struggle and upheaval, we learn so much about our strength, resilience and wisdom. “The brick walls are there for a reason,” Professor Pausch said during his now-famous lecture. “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”
Food for Thought: Looking back on some of the “brick walls” you have hit in your life, what are some of the skills or strengths you discovered about yourself? What breakthroughs have you created by confronting those challenges?