“Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world.”
Thursday morning came early for me this week. I typically play basketball on Wednesday nights with a group of guys in our neighborhood, and we had played until nearly midnight the night before. By the time I got to bed it was after 1am, so when I heard my son getting ready to go to school early Thursday morning, I thought perhaps I would just stay in bed and try to get some extra sleep. My wife was at the gym and I figured my son could get himself off to school, although that’s not generally the custom in our home. We like to be there with our kids to send them out the door when they leave for school, so I decided to sacrifice a little extra sleep to get up and have breakfast with my son.
As I was waiting for him to get ready, I read a blog post called “Hear the Hard Things“, which talked about being willing to seek out opportunities to learn from a coach and always striving to improve yourself. It was a great message and I thought of sharing it with my son that morning. As a teenager, he isn’t always super interested in hearing advice from his dad, but fortunately there was a reference to LeBron James in the article, so that was the ticket to our conversation. We ended up reading this message of self-improvement together and talking about how it applied to both of us. He appreciated the example of someone like LeBron James, who is one of the best basketball players in the world, constantly striving to become better and seeking out feedback and training from coaches and others. My son immediately related these principles to his activities in track, baseball, and his school work. And more importantly, it provided a great bonding experience for my son and I as we learned a principle of greatness together. I later wrote a quick thank you to the author of this article letting him know it had provided a learning opportunity and bonding experience for me with my son that blessed our lives.
So, this morning I woke up and read “the rest of the story” behind the article I shared with my son. I wanted to share this story with you to illustrate how we never know the full impact our sacrifices and actions might have on the life of someone else, even when we think that perhaps what we do doesn’t really make a difference.
Excerpt from Steven Lee Elder – On Greatness: The Daily Choice (Friday, December 12, 2013):
Earlier this week I flew into Houston, Texas to visit the amazing Alytis customer loyalty team and wish them a Merry Christmas. My flight from Salt Lake City landed at Bush Intercontinental Airport around 11:00 pm on December 11th, the day before my visit. After picking up my checked bag, rental car, driving to the hotel and checking in I was in my room by around midnight. By the time I settled in it was about 12:30 am and I was tired, ready for bed.
The problem was I hadn’t written my December 12th blog post yet. The thought crossed my mind that I would just miss a day and not write. ”No one will really notice or care,” I rationalized to myself. Then I thought about the notes and comments many of you have shared that my posts are sometimes the first thing you read to start your day. I also thought about the 40+ members of the Alytis family who get my posts. It is my daily opportunity to connect with them no matter where we are in the world. I then thought about my own children who often read my posts via social media and refer to them in conversation. Thinking of these important people in my life began to stir a motivation to write, but I still was debating inside my head as I looked at the inviting pillows in my hotel room.
My thoughts then turned to the purpose of my blog, which is to inspire greatness. I’m still working on my own definition of personal greatness, but I do know that a key principle of greatness is sacrifice. Giving up an hour of sleep in order to inspire someone to pursue greatness, even if it is only one reader, is why I post every day. I decided to write.
As many of you know I write about axiom leadership a lot, which is to teach and exemplify values, principles and truths so clearly that it inspires alignment of hearts and minds. I have made it my personal cause to inspire the world to pursue personal and professional greatness. The decision to write my December 12th post came down to whether I was willing to exemplify the principle of consistent effort and keep my commitment to axiom leadership.
I wrote my December 12, 2013 blog post on hearing the hard things and went to bed at 1:30 am. Later that morning, I saw a comment posted at 7:16 am that a father had read the post with his teenage son and thanked me for writing it. I smiled when I saw the comment and felt satisfaction that I had followed through on my commitment to write every day. If my post contributed to a father and son having a conversation about pursuing greatness, then the lost hour of sleep was well worth it.
The commitment to a deeper cause and the choice to work and endure towards it is a daily one. My choice whether to write or not to write this week was a small one compared to other choices I face in life. However, going through that mental decision process is the same effort we all go through to decide whether we will put off old habits and beliefs and exercise the faith necessary to change and become someone greater.
Make the commitment to greatness. Live the values, principles and truths that are associated with greatness. Choose to be an axiom leader.
This was great reminder to me regarding the impact that the actions of others have on my life and the impact my simple daily actions can have on the lives of others. I’m sure there are times when we wonder if what we are doing really makes a difference, but I am often reminded of the book The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews, wherein he states simply and boldly, “Every single thing you do matters.”
Live like it matters. Live a life inspired!
- Every decision that you make, no matter how big or small, alters the course of the future. Everything you do matters. (dailyps.wordpress.com)
- What Andy Andrews Said… (thewritelife2.wordpress.com)
- Learn From The King: Lessons Of Success We Take From The Career Of LeBron James (elitedaily.com)