Live Full. Die Empty.

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Motivational speaker, Les Brown, gives speeches all over the country and I often listen to him via YouTube.  Last week I was on my treadmill putting in some miles toward my goal of being “healthy and strong” when I was hit with his words.  I had to take a moment and step away from the treadmill and catch my breath—not from the exertion of running, but instead from the impact of these powerful words.

Live Full.  Die Empty.

I’ve often thought about how devastating it would be for any one of us to die having not reached our potential—having not reached for our dreams and accomplished them.  I’m lucky to be a dreamer.  I have LOTS of dreams—some personal, becoming financially wealthy so that I can provide meaningful philanthropy, learning to speak a second language, and writing and publishing a book; some professional, like creating  an epidemic of mental wellness through my role at Family Service Society, becoming a professional public speaker, and mentoring as many women toward success as possible.

Mr. Brown’s words hit me hard because I have these dreams and goals and I’m not always in alignment with them.  I literally had to sit down and really examine whether I was spending my time and energy in ways that moved me closer or further away from them and from living full.

For me, to Live Full and Die Empty means that I can lay my head down on the pillow at night and know that I gave it ALL over the course of the day.  I was bringing my BEST self to every encounter with others, to my home life and my work life. And you know what? I’m embarrassed to admit, often, I’m not.

Here’s an example—I have a goal, “I am present for my family.”  This is a real struggle for me because I am a natural thinker and spend a lot of quiet time in my own head.  I like to spend time alone doing research and gaining subject matter expertise.  I also really enjoy my work and my family would likely describe me as a workaholic or always busy.  To address this, I know that I need to leave my phone someplace where I can’t see or hear it for a period of time so that we can reconnect as a family, really listen to my husband and my kids, call my parents just to check-in and have that glass of wine over the phone with my mom.  Frankly, most evenings I’m putting on music and knocking out dinner while my family goes about their business—only having a few brief interactions but nothing of substance.  I put off that phone call to my friend or family.  And some nights I go from dinner to my home office and “work.”

I also have a goal, “I am healthy and strong so that I can try new things that test my physical limits.”  In order to achieve this goal I know I need to spend time exercising—even when I don’t feel like it (which is pretty much daily)—eating healthy and getting adequate sleep.  If I want to Live Full and accomplish this goal, I have to get out of bed on time in the morning, step away from the TV, avoid electronic screen time when I should be sleeping, and plan my meals each week to avoid slipping back into old unhealthy eating habits.  I frequently hit the snooze button instead of launching my day with some exercise.  I also check my phone “one last time” before going to sleep and this often sends my brain spinning as I try to resolve a late night issue for a friend or co-worker.

Upon re-examination, I’m working to implement the critical changes that allow me to Live Full now and well into the future.  I challenge you to do the same.

Oh, and I have a brand new goal.  “Die Empty.”

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