Time always runs out. We often think about the meaning of life and, as it nears its end, we think about what we have accomplished and wonder if it was all worth it.
September 7, 2017, I stood in front of 500+ firefighters accepting the Arizona State Firefighter of the Year award at the state fire school. (Thanks, Facebook, for the reminder!) I had officially achieved all of my childhood dreams and there I was speaking in front of hundreds of my peers at the pinnacle of the profession. It was an incredible experience, and I’m eternally grateful, but I was deeply unhappy. The truth is, I was overworked and overwhelmed, and after the close of my first business, I questioned who I was and couldn’t bare the thought of waiting for some far off illusion of happiness in retirement two decades in the future.
I could continue to sit back, feeling sorry for myself and blame the world, or I could go inward and find out what it was that truly made me tick. I could rise to the challenge and actually create a better life, or I could fall victim to chance, circumstance and things outside of my control. I could continue to play it safe, semi-conscious, running on the hamster wheel of life or I could completely, and drastically, change the trajectory of my life. In my darkest moment, I found an opportunity to truly create a life that I loved.
After months of painful reflection, I came to believe that the best measures of a life lived well are how much you give, how much you grow and how far you go. This new philosophy opened up doors I didn’t know existed. It took me on a trip around the world, put me on a path to a Master’s degree and it’s why I stand here in humble service before you. I believe it is time to redefine the conventional measures of success towards a life that values service over self, questions over answers and, courage and strength over fear and excuses.Give
Whether your time or your money, your skills or your self, we all have something to give. For a friend in a need of a hug, a stranger in need of smile or community in need of a voice, the gifts you have give meaning to your life. Never forget that each of us has the power to pick someone up when they are down.
- What gifts will you share with the world?
The pursuit of experiences and education, inside the classroom and out, can change your perspective, potential and power to manifest your dreams. Your current mindset, skillset and capabilities have brought you to where you are in the world right now. If you’re ready to level up, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise, it’s time to grow!
- What skills must you develop to serve your mission?
Choosing to stay inside the oh-so alluring safety of the comfort zone is the surest way to squander your dreams. Although quitting your job and moving away might not be for all of you, comfort is the killer of your dreams. Do not be held back by the limitations, fears and opinions of other people. There’s so much to learn, to see, to experience. Go find out for yourself!
- What fears must you face?
- Print off the attached Give, Grow, Go checklist.
- Under Give, list out all of the contributions you want to make for your family, community and our world. How will you make a difference?
- Under Grow, list out all of the questions you need to ask, the skills you need to learn and all areas of your life you must grow in order to become the best version of yourself. Where must you stretch your current skillset?
- Under Go, list out all of the things you’ve always wanted to do, places you’ve wanted to go and all the experiences you daydream of. List the things that make you nervous just thinking about it. Ask yourself, what would I do with my life if I had one year left to live and I was guaranteed success?
By the time you get to the end of this list, your palms should be sweaty and your heart rate elevated. If what you’re going for does not scare, excite or otherwise elevate you, you’re dreaming too small. Layout this grand vision of growth, service, and action and let’s work together to take you there.