Recently I attended a memorial service in celebration of the life of a wonderful woman. I only had a handful of interactions with her, but they were always genuine and meaningful. And as I listened to her loved ones eulogize her, I knew that I was among the blessed many who had similar interactions with her.
Attendants spoke of her love, her unyielding faith, her grace and her laughter. As her friends and family consoled each other they all agreed that she was taken too soon, she was only 48 years young.
She was remarkable in every way – and after being around her friends and family and listening to folks tell stories that will keep her memory alive, I realized that, metaphorically speaking, she lived her life within a small radius, but my oh my – did it go miles deep. Every single person who came to celebrate her life was made the better by the many or in my case, the few, interactions with her.
And I couldn’t help but feel while she lived within a small radius but deep, that I was living almost the exact opposite way – wide, but shallow.
I am a writer and motivational speaker and for as long as I can remember I have wanted to reach the many. I have dreamed of the day that I stand on stage and address thousands of women. To that end I have written and blogged and vlogged my little heart out. I have Facebooked and Instagrammed into the wee hours of the night – wanting to expand my “platform,” to reach and help women – yes, but also to “make it.”
“Making it,” career wise is one of the main things that drives me. And early on, I defined “making it,” as have a best-selling book, speaking to crowds of thousands and being interviewed by Oprah. Guys, Oprah. (Insert laughter and eye roll here!) So anything short of that would be “paying my dues.” Basically a recipe for “not making it.”
If you’re in business of any kind – you know that social media is really the city that never sleeps. Must. Be. On. Social. Media. All. Day. Today’s climate demands a constant social media presence, which sometimes is fun, but most times is exhausting. Because it’s not just sharing, it’s sharing the exact right thing at the exact right time to increase engagement – a science and full-time job unto its own. And all this to reach more people – expanding the radius of one’s life further and further.
And while I sat in the aftermath of a lady who didn’t seek to expand the radius of her life in order to “make it,” who focused on pouring into her family and friends, I couldn’t help but want to steer my life in a little different of a direction.
As fate would have it, a few days before my friend’s funeral, I vowed to take a week long social media vacation. I thought it would be tough, that I would miss it – but I just didn’t. Without the ever presence of social media, I connected with my daughters more, I dozed off while nursing my 4 month old and I started reading two books! And because I wasn’t glued to my phone, I magically found time to talk with girlfriends, I spent more quality time with my husband and I really took notice of how beautiful the sky looks at sunset.
The way my friend lived her life, pushed me to rethink how I was living mine. She made me redefine, “making it,” consequently, changing my priorities.
Her way of being gave me renewed inspiration to cultivate face-to-face relationships, to pour into the lives of my girlfriends and neighbors and to give deeply to those around me.
Listen, I still love Oprah and I’ll still work hard to spread inspiration and nourish women through my writing and speaking – but I’m not going to do it at the cost of whizzing by or worse, missing, all the blessings and opportunities right in front of me.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Theresa