Without risk, faith is an impossibility. Kierkegaard
I have posted previously about some of my favorite reading material. Fortunately, that list keeps getting longer and longer. I was thumbing through a book I read years ago and I came to a page telling of an interesting study.
The book is The Journey From Success to Significance by John Maxwell. The title itself speaks volumes. It assumes you’re starting from success and want to make even more out of your life. A good portion of the population want to get to success. Once there, they think they’ve made it. Nope. Success is just a stop-over on the way to significance.
Like the definition of success, the definition of significance will mean different things to almost everyone. But stop and ponder that for a minute . . . . Think BIGGER. Don’t just define what success looks like for you. Define what significance means to you and set your sights on that! I promise you, the two are very different.
On to the study. The following is quoted verbatim from pages 28 & 29 from The Journey From Success To Significance:
Anthony Campolo has recounted a sociological study in which fifty people in their late nineties were asked one question: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently? It was an open-ended question allowing any kind of response, yet three answers kept surfacing from the people:
1) If I had it to do over again, I would REFLECT MORE.
2) If I had it to do over again, I would RISK MORE.
3) If I had it to do over again, I would DO MORE THINGS THAT WOULD LIVE ON AFTER I AM DEAD.
What a perfect description of the preparation for significance! These near centenarians didn’t miss any of the traditional trappings of success. They didn’t wish for more money, power or fame. They wanted to get beyond themselves and do something that mattered, boldly and purposefully. They recognized the value of a life given to significance.
“Get beyond themselves.” What a powerful statement. I submit that the reason most people will never achieve success (even as they define it for themselves) is because they can’t get out of their own way. They find all the reasons why something can’t or won’t work. As a result, they stay stuck where they are.
So what’s in your heart right now? Is there something stirring there? Is something speaking to you? Don’t ignore that voice. Listen to it. Pray over it. Act on it. Recognize your gifts and that you have a lot to offer this world. I have had the great fortune to see glimpses of how people view me. Believe me, you engender more influence and respect than you think. You are more powerful than you would ever believe. Our Maker certainly isn’t in the business of making mistakes. You have the power and all the tools you need to have a life of significance. As Erika Napoletano has said: when are you going to admit that there is something glorious about being you?
Have you been out of work for a while and nothing seems to be going right? Are all the doors being closed on full-time employment opportunities? Maybe it’s time to take a look around for that window God opened for you. Feel that breeze? Yeah, it’s coming from somewhere. Go find the source. Maybe that opening leads to you starting your own business instead. Maybe being an employee is not where you’re supposed to be. Maybe you’re supposed to be a business owner and the one that offers opportunities to others. Are you in a failing relationship? Are you refusing to take ownership of your responsibilities to make things better? Is it the right relationship for you? Ask the tough questions and be honest with the answers. There’s a better life out there…for every one. Go and get it. Make it happen.
If you step out and take the risk, might you lose? It’s a possibility. Will the outcome be precisely what you were working toward? Perhaps, perhaps not. Will you regret taking the risk? Never. If you step out and act on what’s in your heart I promise you, you will learn more about yourself and your limits (or what you thought were your limits) than you ever thought possible.