"The true measure of a man is not what he dreams, but what he aspires to be; a dream is nothing without action. Whether one fails or succeeds is irrelevant; all that matters is that there was motion in his life. That alone affects the world." -- Mike Norton, White Mountain
It's a new year. We made our New Year's resolutions, right? Wrote down a list of all the things we want to accomplish in 2014 and maybe you've checked off a few items already. Maybe you haven't even opened that file again on your computer. But either way, the new year progresses.
New York City welcomed a new mayor. We witnessed the stars parading their couture on the red carpets of the Academy Awards and Grammys. We've experienced a bunch of bizarre weather events (snow in Atlanta!) and have also experienced the loss of two well respected entertainers, Shirley Temple Black and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Then, we all shook our heads at the shenanigans of Justin Bieber, while trying to remind ourselves that he's still just a teenager. We also honored the life and accomplishments of the amazing leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. It's funny how many ups and downs we endure in just a matter of months and throughout the course of a year. But there is still so much to look forward to -- still ways to make every day count. I've been thinking about that recently -- how to make this year better/different than years past. And not just for myself.
In a few days and early next week, we have the opportunity to celebrate two holidays. I think these particular holidays deserve a bit more in-depth attention, rather than just letting them pass us by as we lament on how Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again, leaving us with six more weeks of unpredictable and seemingly apocalyptic weather.
First, we have Valentine's Day. What a great holiday, right?! Celebrating chocolate and hard-to-get restaurant reservations. Oh yes...and LOVE. While we joke about all the ridiculous aspects of this holiday, some trivial, some hitting the truth target a bit more than we'd like to admit, I think it should be a day to celebrate all of the important people in our lives. Not just a significant other, but ALL of your loved ones. How often do we take the time to simply call up a family member or a dear friend and tell them how much they mean to us? Probably not that often, right? But how lovely would that be, to make this holiday about appreciating all the love in your life, and perhaps, all of the love you give to others?
Next holiday: President's Day. A long weekend, a day off from work, and the start to February vacation (for those of us working, enrolled in or with children in the education system). We don't often look further into the meaning of this holiday, but I think that we should. We're celebrating the accomplishments and leadership of presidents from our country's past. But I hope that some of us can also take some time on this day to reflect on the accomplishments of leaders in our own lives. Who is your mentor? Do you admire all of the hard work of your employer or a co-worker? A parent or grandparent? Wouldn't it be an amazing day if you could just reach out to someone you know and thank them for being a leader -- a role model, someone who is actively working to make things better for the world?
I think LOVE and LEADERSHIP are two subjects to celebrate profusely. Instead of letting these holidays roll by, I challenge you to spend five minutes thinking about what these days really represent. In the midst of our quest to make this year profoundly different than others before it, we should take a break from thinking about ourselves and devote a bit of time to doting on others. Then, bundle up the rest of your passion and determination and celebrate love and leadership by reaching beyond your inner circle.
Let's start today. What wonderful things can we make happen?