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John O’Leary shares one simple, surprising reminder to keep in mind during the complex days of the pandemic.

“It’s not about you.”

These are the first four words of one of the bestselling books of all time.

Through the principles put forward by Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life, we are reminded that in order to discover what most stirs our heart, ignites our passion and elevates our lives: We must begin with the surprising and unpopular truth that it’s not about us.

In other words, to obtain the best of our lives we must l….stop believing that it’s all about our lives.

My friend Matt Emerzian recently shared with me how embracing and living this paradoxical truth changed his life. Let me share how it might change yours, too.

Upon graduating from UCLA with his MBA, Matt got a dream job. Hired as a senior vice president at a major music marketing company, he worked directly with the biggest celebrities in the world. Matt was extraordinarily well-compensated and spent his free time hanging with the biggest names in showbiz at the most exclusive parties. He was on top of the world.

Yet he felt as if he was at the bottom of it.

Matt found that all of the success, parties and fame did nothing to fill a gaping hole in his life. He was unhappy, unfulfilled and disconnected.  In time, he became clinically depressed.

His counselor recommended a simple book that could help him get on a path to a life filled with more meaning. The first four words surprised him:

It’s not about you.

This viewpoint was one that this athletic, handsome, successful Hollywood guy had never even considered. Until that point in his life, candidly, it was all about him.

In asking his counselor what it meant and how to live it, Matt was challenged to participate in one volunteer activity. A week later he was given another volunteer activity. Week after week, Matt found himself spending a couple hours every Saturday serving food in shelters, repainting decrepit houses or picking up trash. To his surprise, this time spent investing in others became his favorite part of the week.

Slowly, Matt realized he’d invested his time, energy and career thus far on things that didn’t make a significant difference. He decided to change his life to ensure he was focused on things that mattered.

Today, his weekly appointment serving others has blossomed into a global movement, impacting more than a million lives and a daily reminder that every person matters.

[To hear how Matt made this shift, the impact it’s had and what it means for you, check out our deeply moving conversation from the Live Inspired Podcast archives on ep. 58.]

Want to achieve greater success, impact more deeply and savor an even better life? Want more vibrancy and joy?

Start with the simple, surprising reminder that it’s not about you.

It turns out the greatest returns in life are rarely discovered in what we receive, but in what we give. Because, ultimately, we don’t long to be merely happy, busy or successful. We desire to be useful, honorable, and compassionate. We yearn to make a difference, to belong to a community and to share love with others.

In a world as divided and negative as ours, what better time to start than now.

This is your day. Live Inspired.
John O’Leary

1 reply on “Start with This Simple Reminder”

As the impact of this pandemic dwells deeper, it is good to be reminded it’s not about me. We are in this together so now more than ever we need to take care of one another. I had an experience last week to drive that point home. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. I pray I continue to do the next right thing in helping others, because getting out of a me focus to support others gives purpose to our lives.

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