I recently ran across a quote that I felt was meaningful. It was especially timely because we tend to become retrospective at the end of a year. We tend to think about our loved ones that are no longer around. We see lists in the news of those celebrities that have died during the year. We think about those family members that could not visit for the holidays. We think about friends and times in the past when we read Christmas cards and letters. And, in my case, I think about all those individuals and coworkers that have been in my life during the 40 years of my career that just ended. Here is the quote:
“If you absence doesn’t affect them, your presence never mattered.” – Anonymous
You can look at this quote in one of two ways:
- “That hole in my heart says the people of my past impacted me greatly” – You can look at this quote from the perspective of missing people from your past. I was able to spend significant time with my seven grandchildren over the recent holidays. When they are around, I often think of my own parents, both gone now for many years. I think about the impact they had on my life and how I miss them. I think my own grandparents and what I learned from them. I think of friends that live far away. I think of my work colleagues that I will no longer see every day. All of these individuals impacted me. They’re presence in my life mattered! I’m different because of them (you). We should never take times we have with these loved ones for granted because there will be a day when we can no longer see them, call them, or share our lives with them. The second way we can look at this quote is this….
- “Am I impacting others in such a way that my presence makes a difference? Does my presence really matter?” – It might be humbling to actually ask yourself these questions. Possibly, we don’t even want to know the answer. The reality is that our lives are not our own. We are not islands unto ourselves. Our purpose is not simply to gratify ourselves, accumulate wealth, attain power or position, or meet our own needs. We exist to make a difference in the lives of others. If you were suddenly snatched out of this life, who would be impacted? Who would say, “His/Her absence hurts. That individual made a huge difference in my life and it will never be the same without him/her.”
So, the bottom line message this little quote has for me is this… Who matters in my life and have I told those individuals what they mean to me? And, am I doing my best to make a positive difference for the people in my life? I have the power to make a difference – am I using that power or wasting it?
As you look ahead to this New Year, let’s consider who matters in our own lives and how we can matter more to others. As you do, you’ll see yourself adopt a completely new attitude on life, what you do, and what really matters. And, you will gain a much keener appreciation for the people in your life that matter.
We all have the power to make a difference… let’s use that power for good in 2017!