By Gary Roe
We smile and say, "I'm fine." Inside, however, we're churning. Our minds are spinning. We sense we're going in circles. We're tired.
Life is busy. Our world is noisy and demanding. We carry a mental to-do list a mile long. Relational, vocational, financial, emotional, and physical issues come knocking frequently. Guilt from past failures and missed opportunities weighs on us. Seething underneath it all is the fear of what might happen based on what has happened.
All this produces a frantic routine of distracted, fragmented living.
Deep down we know something is amiss. We need to be continually reminded that we're here for a purpose. We're designed to be impact people.
Tip #1: Decide what kind of impact you want to have.
If we don't know where we're going, we might end up somewhere we don't want to be.
Extrapolate forward and look at the end of your life. When all is said and done, what kind of impact do you want to have made?
Don't complicate this. Keep it simple. Limit it to one phrase or short sentence. Don't make it something to do but rather more about what kind of person you want to be.
Tip #2: Become an avid listener.
Difference makers listen. They're interested in other people. They intentionally get out of their own heads and enter the world of the person in front of them.
Sadly, listening has become a lost art. Most of us fake it well. We smile and nod while we wait for a chance to say what we're thinking.
Positive impact people, however, refuse to make life about themselves. Difference makers' thoughts and routines are consistently about other people and the greater good.
Developing a difference-making heart begins with practicing the discipline of listening.
Tip #3: Become a person of greater integrity.
I say "become" because none of us has arrived at the magical place of 100% integrity. We're all in process. We're learning.
What does it mean to have integrity?
Integrity flows from being an integrated person - whole and undivided. What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas. No nefarious intent. No manipulative motivations. Consistent honesty, authenticity, and trustworthiness.
People of integrity are truthful, sincere, honorable, humble, and safe. Their words and actions match. They know why they're here and what they're about.
It's not about being perfect. We all stumble in many ways. Difference makers get up quickly and continue on the road to becoming whole, undivided people who consistently resist the current of self-focused, distracted living.
Tip #4: Make life about serving others.
Life is about relationships. Getting out of our own heads and entering another's world brings perspective and cultivates wisdom.
When we walk with others in their stuff (even for a few moments), life looks different. We see more of the big picture. Our souls rise from the sideline and become more fully engaged.
Genuine service also promotes healing of our own wounds. It's hard to be involved in soul-engaged service and still live in the past.
Tip #5: Be patient with yourself (and others).
We're going to fail - often. The key is learning to fail forward. It's not what we did that matters most now, but what we do next.
We can't afford to let the glitches, mistakes, and past pain derail us. Life is too precious, and the stakes are too high.
Hold things loosely. Release things quickly. Travel lighter than ever before. Be patient with yourself.
Breathe deeply. Keep your eye on the goal. Don't make things about you. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Let the burdens go. Extend to others the patience and kindness you would want them to extend to you.
Have the impact you were designed for.
Do you want to have the impact you were designed for? Decide what kind of impact you want to have. Whatever that is, it will involve listening well, pursuing greater integrity, and serving others for the greater good. Your life isn't about you. It's about us.
Take heart. Life is a one-small-step-at-a-time affair. Take the next step.
And then the next.
And the next...
Gary Roe is an award-winning author, speaker, and grief specialist. His compassionate and trusted voice who has been bringing comfort, hope, encouragement, and healing to hurting, wounded hearts for more than 30 years. Click here to get a free excerpt of his new book, Comfort for Grieving Hearts. For more information visit www.garyroe.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.