03/18/2015 10:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Great Date: It's Just About Life


March 18. That's today's date. It's a great day, your day to have a great date, especially if you have never had one before. It might be the most important date you ever have. And not it's not the date with your spouse (important), your boyfriend or girlfriend (important), your kids (important), your whole family (important), your work and responsibilities (important), your friends (important).

It's none of the above. The date you need to go on and make it one of the best ever... focused, intense, and soulfully rewarding, is the date with you. It's time to get to know yourself. And not only is that date important, it needs to happen every day.

But getting to know yourself is not easy. Consider the following:

We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search of not merely its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves.

The quote above, taken from a commencement address at Princeton, could easily have been spoken today. But it wasn't. It is from a speech by President Woodrow Wilson, in 1907!  The more things change, the more things stay the same. As a matter of fact, if you go back in time you will find much of the same challenges as today. Time may move forward, we may advance in technology and speed of life, but at the core, one thing never changes; we are humans and our basic needs, desires, and uphill battles are still the same. The same shortcomings from centuries ago still exist today, and one of those is taking action on the one thing which can give you a strong sense of purpose and direction in your life. And it is the one thing which can lead you to feeling fulfilled and creating significance.

It is growth, personal growth.

How do you get there? Make a date.

I am currently re-reading several books in preparation for some speeches I have the opportunity to write for a large recognition event next month for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, an event focused on leadership.  You want to know how I earned the opportunity? I figured out what my strength and purpose is -- and then practice, dedication, conviction and awareness of a chance when it presented itself. However, those are simply direct consequences of the one date I have had as consistently as I can over the past few years, nearly ever day. That date has allowed me to tap into what makes me tick and stay on the ever-challenging journey to reach my potential. That journey by the way, never ends.

So I ask you, can you ask yourself out on a date?

And don't just take my word for it, I mean who is Mark Brodinsky? Funny thing is every day I'm getting the answer to that question. So allow me to lend support to my conviction. This is an excerpt taken directly from the book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, by John C. Maxwell. If you don't know Maxwell, it's OK, but his resume speaks for itself. He is an author, coach and speaker who has sold more than 24 million books and  trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries. He has been called America's #1 Leadership Authority. The following excerpt is all about your next great date:

Take a look at your calendar for the next 12 months. How much time have you specifically scheduled for personal growth? If you're like most people, your answer will be none. That's not going to cut it. Rework your calendar so you have an appointment (date) with yourself for personal growth every day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. You might be thinking, What? I don't have time for that! That's probably true. Do it anyway. If you want to succeed, you need to do whatever it takes. Get up an hour early. Stay up an hour later. Give up your lunch hour. Put in extra time on the weekends. If you don't you'll have to prepare to give up your dreams and any hope of reaching your potential.

Start now. No matter what time of day you're reading these words, make a commitment to start growing today. Give that first hour before you go to sleep tonight. Put in the time today and for the next five days. You probably won't feel like doing it. Do it anyway.

It's time for a great date and you can begin immediately, buy or download a book to help you. There are nearly two dozen books to choose from right on The Higher Shelf! page on my personal blog Read, learn, reflect, meet great people, attend great events, ask great questions. Visualize what it is you want to accomplish, start to figure out who you really are and then tap into your strengths and talents, the ones which are unique to you. And then --  and this is key --  find a way  to use those talents in service to other people.

Your challenge and everyone's challenge is this: you need to find out who you are to grow, but you have to grow in order to find out who you are.

Have a great date today.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.