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Businesswoman Addressing Multi-Cultural Office Staff Meeting

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Remember back in school taking tests?

Remember the questions that required you to ‘fill in the blank’?

I personally always struggled in those and did much better with multiple choice or even true/false. Last week, however, I was reminded sometimes the important questions demand a ‘fill in the blank’ response. Let me explain.

While speaking to a group of sales professionals in Georgia, I reminded them of the power within their stories, within their purpose, within their relationships and within their lives. And I reminded them of the power of thinking with the end in mind – not just weekly goals, or quarterly objectives, or yearly targets, but for their entire life.

So the question I challenged them to answer was this: Before I die I want to: ______________________.

I gave them three minutes to reflect and journal. During that time I played one of my favorite songs on the piano from Les Miserable: I Dreamed a Dream.

Then we provided these leaders the opportunity to publicly proclaim to each other what they wanted to do. People shared such aspirations as: Travel to Europe. Believe again. Rekindle a relationship. Be an awesome parent. Get healthy. Have no regrets. Ride a Harley. Impact profoundly.

My friend, when you start with the end in mind, it frees you to not waste time, to not burn days, to not cheapen relationships and to not look back regretting the life you lived. It ignites you instead to be passionate in relationships, bold in vision, diligent in efforts and grateful for the journey. [Tweet this.]

In the comment below, I encourage you to share your answer too. You’ll discover the exercise isn’t intended to focus on the negativity around death, but to instead set you on fire for the great joy of your life.

This is your day not just to be busy, but to be fully alive.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

6 replies on “It’s Not Enough to Be Busy”

Before I die I want to experience peace and serenity in my life. I want to wake up each day looking forward to whatever the day and my God has in store for me and find a reason to laugh each day. I want to live with peace and serenity.

Hi John!

Having recently done your “Spark” series, I am going to go a bit deeper here- “what do you want people to say about you when you are no longer on the earth?” What do you want your sentence to be—

I want my sentence to be- “Jennifer was an endless source of inspiration and passion and inspired people to live their dreams with every fiber of their being by being an authentic, passionate cheerleader for other people always.”

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.