What does it mean to live a life of significance? The definition of significance is the quality of being worthy of attention; importance, of consequence. When something has significance, it has meaning. Who gets to decide?
“It is not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something”.
— Winston Churchill
Turning 50 has been fabulous. In celebration of this milestone year, I have traveled around the country to spend quality time and make more memories with people who have known me for more than four decades. I have seen new cities (Austin, Dallas, Asheville, Greenville, and Charlottesville) and revisited favorites (New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York). I have spent time with my family on Thompson Lake in Maine and with friends on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut and on the beaches of New Jersey and New York. I have kindled some new friendships and reconnected with old friends that I have not spoken to in thirty years. I have taken vacations both from and with the dogs. The first eight months of my sixth decade has been a blessing by all measures. In this moment, my parents, husband, and children are healthy. I am grateful for and humbled by this recognition and will not take it for granted.
And still…a nagging feeling of ‘not enough’- build more, do more, be more. What drives me? My desire to be significant, to coach others on how to live a life of significance, by their definition and on their terms.
“What man fears is not death, but extinction without significance”.
— Victor Frankel
I believe that if I face my fears, truly face what terrifies me, then I will be able to be my fullest expression of who I was meant to be. I start with the small stuff- public speaking. Check. Now I teach it. Then I move on to the bigger things. There are real fears, fear of existential threats, of what climate change is doing to our planet, of not stopping terrible heartbreak on any given day through senseless death and destruction in the inner cities and beyond. There is so much to do and so little time, particularly when you are facing what is likely to be the halftime of your life.
In the book Reboot, Jerry Colonna asks, “What is it we fear? Well, first the threats to love, safety and belonging. We fear shame because it rends our sense of who we might be and- we believe- threatens our worthiness to be loved. We fear love because the object of our love may jump ship and abandon us, leaving us bereft. We fear the change inherent in our children growing into adulthood, the death of those close to us, the end of decades long relationships.” Fear can protect us, but it can also paralyze. In this dawning of a new season, I challenge myself to move through my fears and come out on the other side. I will become the most authentic version of myself in order to live a life of significance, with a soft, open heart and a strong back – a warrior, indeed.