Everyone knows the great philosophical question, "Why are we here?" That is not what we are talking about today. Instead, the question becomes, "Why am I here?" This question brings up more questions: Is there a point to this thing I call life? Do I have a purpose? How do I want to be remembered? What is my life's mission?
As we address this the word mission is synonymous with the words calling, goal or aim. So, what is your calling in life, what goals do you want to accomplish and what direction in life are you aiming to go?
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself a question and let that answer lead you on a journey the rest of your life. How do I want to be remembered? When people think about me, how do I want them to think of me? This is where some people say they don't care what other people think about them. I hope that selfishness and narcissism are not part of your character and you don't feel that way.
How do you want to be remembered? All of us have legacies that will be here after we turn to dust. It could be children, siblings, nieces/nephews, god children, best friends, friend's kids,people we mentor/sponsor, businesses, organizations or even written/video records (newspaper articles, Facebook pages, blogs, books, etc).
Whether we like it or not, we all leave a footprint in this world. We all have an impact on people in our lives and often an impact on people we may never meet. Contrary to how I once felt, what I do matters. What each and everyone of you does matters, to someone or something. Every action has consequences.
I don't care who you are or what you believe in, if you are living your life to make yourself and the people around you better, you are doing something right. If you aren't living your life that way, you are doing something wrong. That said, what do you want to accomplish with your life and can people tell your mission by the way you are living your life? If not, how can I change that? Apply a basic psychological theory from the cognitive behavioral school.
Here is where rational living theory comes into play. It is a theory by Aldo Pucci that says you need to do two things than ask yourself 3 questions before you do things.
· Step 1 - First, put together a list of your goals.
· Step 2 - Compile a list of feelings you desire.
· Know come the three Questions:
· Question 1 - Is what I am thinking of doing rational?
· Question 2 - Will doing this being me closer to accomplishing my goals?
· Question 3 - Will doing this elicit the feelings I want to have?
If you can answer yes to these 3 questions, than it becomes something you can do.
I had a way of doing that before I heard of Mr. Pucci. When I got clean and sober, I struggled with something Mark Lundholm calls first thought wrong. In my case, it was more like first 5 thoughts wrong. I needed some way to focus on doing the right thing, and it was hard because I had spent the last 2 plus decades doing the wrong thing. This was a theory I came up with. I call it the 3 questions that changed my life. If you do not believe in God, than ask yourself the 2nd and 3rd questions only.
This is really simple, anytime you do anything, ask yourself these 3 questions before you do it.
· Question 1 - If God were standing right next to me, would I do this?
· Question 2 - If the person I love the most (son/daughter, little brother/sister, niece/nephew, mom/dad, partner) was standing right here next to me, would I do this?
· Question 3 - Is this something I would want the person I love the most to do?
If you cannot say yes to all three of those questions, don’t do it. It really is that simple. The person I used for the one I loved the most was my son. I realized that as much as he loved me and looked up to me he would repeat the things he saw me do. This really helped me make decisions better which in turn helped me make huge strides in accomplishing my life's goals.
Why is what we do so important in accomplishing your life's mission? Because how we act and the things we do speak much louder than what we actually tell people we want to do and how we want to be seen. Imagine I want people to know there is a better life in recovery. I want the community around me know that people in recovery are no longer the people they once were!
What I do, how I act and what I say impact all of that in huge ways. I am always on stage, because I am proud of my recovery and I speak out about recovery, addiction and stigma issues all of the time in the communities around me. Because of that people watch what I do and listen to what I say. They do the same with you, whether you know it or not. What you say and do matters, whether you care or not.
The biggest roadblock standing in the way of reducing the stigma that surrounds addiction, mental health and recovery are the people in recovery. It is not the community! I have found a lot of people who have been very receptive to seeing the positive change that comes with recovery and seeing me for the person I am today even though they know the person I once was.
In order to accomplish a mission, you never waver. You never take your eye off of the prize. If you slip, you get right back up and continue forward while learning from the slip to avoid it in the future. Never back down, never surrender, and never settle. I know you might want to be good, but never forget that you can be great! You can accomplish anything you set your mind to!