"I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much."
-- Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
"When diverse people contribute to the design, dissemination, and promotion of service and products, they help create and contribute a more meaningful society."
-- Richard Zreik, Entrepreneur; CEO, WiifMe
Memorial Day is upon us, which has morphed into a long holiday weekend for many Americans; all of whom owe a debt of gratitude to the United States soldiers. Those who have made our way of life possible; past, present, and future. We need to give thanks to those whose military service make our country, and the world in general, a better place; especially those who died in action. To honor those who find opportunities within the crisis and trauma to survive and then thrive. Who inspire us to ask ourselves, "What can I do with my life today?"
Memorial Day is one of those American holidays that make us rethink our human need for connection with others. What Maslow's Hierarchy, especially self-actualization really looks like; no matter our geographical location, digital avatar, or which career we have. It makes us rethink what work/life balance looks like, and what our legacy will be. Our contributions to our inner circle (family and friends), our community, and our society as a whole. Our relationship with each other, near and far, thanks to the spread of technology, education, democracy, and yes, entrepreneurship. Our ongoing attempts to balance Me and We, humanity and technology, and even busyness with actual productivity. All of which impact on our need to harness time and reframe success and failure; especially if we are in the entrepreneurship arena.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, because of the military service and personal sacrifices others have made. Who have preserved, and still do, the freedoms and way of life that so many of us take for granted; especially today. I would like to humbly acknowledge all the American troops; stateside and abroad, who will be forever remembered for their heroism. Who have taught me what resiliency really looks like. I would especially like to thank our other unsung heroes, the military wives, for their selflessness, sacrifices, and their strength. For teaching me the true meaning of the terms "pivot" and "legacy". For teaching me what it means to live a life of purpose.
I don't define "legacy" and "success" using the parameters most people use. To me these words connote living a life that matters, that impacts others for the greater good. They convey an understanding of one's role on this earth. They convey an understanding of the importance of using that knowledge to craft a life and career, where the mind and heart are in sync with daily routines and bank accounts. It's about knowing that your digital avatar and overall story positively intersects with the story of others, creating a ripple effect that you may never know but others do.
This is the ultimate entrepreneurial trajectory to aspire to; the path to disruptive innovation that more of us need to take. Especially in the current iEra, where it's so easy to just live in the moment and get bogged down by our own proverbial treadmill. Which is why I take to heart the iPad Air commercial that asks:
"What will your verse be?"
Entrepreneurs can learn so much from our troops....How to create services and products that solve real problems. How to help people globally long term. How to embed civic engagement and philanthropy in ongoing missions. These are the hallmarks of having achieved that sustainable legacy, and that true measure of humanity; self-actualization.
What will you be remembered for?