No, not today. Not this week. But if the chart I read is right – within the next 20-30 years.
In one way, that seems like a long time from now. But in another, when I think about what it takes to truly have an impact on the world around me – in a deep way – it's not long at all.
Some interesting dynamics from my life:
- I read 15 minutes a day for twelve years before I stopped having to think about it
- I refrained from eating vegetables for over a decade before I started even trying them
- It took me six years to increase my sleep from 5 hours to 6 hours a night
It's true that you can develop a new habit in 20-30 days. But I can also tell you, from my own personal experience, that other habits take a lot longer to develop (or break).
You can't rush impact
If I ran up to you right now, told you how similar we were, and asked to be your very best friend, you'd likely laugh, right?
It's silly but it's how my kids interact with the new kids they meet at the park. Instant friends.
But you and I both know that's not how friendships are built. They take time, effort, and investment.
The same is true for influence and impact. You can't rush them.
If you want to leave a mark on the planet, if you want to leave a legacy, you can't hope to have a really productive final year.
It will take time. It will take effort. And it will take investment.
I coach a lot of business folks.
In most of those interactions, we land – at some point – at the topic of Popeye, the child's cartoon from when I was a kid.
Every Sunday morning, I would watch as he got so angry about some injustice (normally regarding Olive Oil) that he would shout out, “that's all I can stands, I can't stands no more.”
These are Popeye moments. And I regularly ask the folks I'm coaching to tell me what they can't stand in the world. What they detest seeing. What they want to change.
But what if we took the concept outside of work? What if we applied it to our daily lives?
The things that motivate me
I don't write a lot of “personal” posts. So if you want to just skip this one, I'll be fine. We'll get back to business and WordPress tomorrow. But if you're interested, here are the things I can't stand – and they motivate me.
- I can't stand small thinkers – so I help people dream.
- I can't stand missed opportunities – so I help give people a chance.
- I can't stand people hiding their talents – so I coach and challenge them.
- I can't stand the selfishness in & around me – so I live generously.
- I can't stand sitting around – so I push myself to learn and grow.
These are my Popeye moments. They push and challenge me and have turned me into who I am today.
Popeye is a Cautionary Tale
But here's the thing – in the cartoon, Popeye eats some spinach and then runs off to help fix things. But then his muscles disappears and he's back to being normal.
This ought to challenge us. Because if we don't take advantage of those Popeye moments, we'll go back to being the normal people we are – without any new habits.
Without any life changes.
It's why I love services like Kiva.
Kiva highlights all the opportunities in the larger world outside my door. It lets me make small loans (of just $25) to people all over the globe so that they can realize their own dreams. Just because they were born on the other side of the world doesn't stop me from helping them out.
And because I've signed up for updates, they send me a lot of different (and wonderful) email. Which reminds me to head back over and keep investing.
One nice thing about Kiva is that when your loan is repaid, you can re-loan it out again – which means your money gets a lot of use in their system.
I can't stand missed opportunities, and Kiva helps me meet that challenge head on. Until it's become a habit – over the last few years – to consistently head over there, add some money, and make some loans!
Clarity is another amazing service – which seemingly sits at the exact opposite of the spectrum – where I collect money from people who want to engage me in a phone call for advice.
But the reason I like Clarity is that it allows me to help a different group of folks, who have professional challenges. Sometimes I hear stories of people getting ripped off – and I help guide them to a better solution. Other times I hear people with doubt, worried they can't do what they hope to do, and I encourage them.
Either way, just like Kiva, I get out of my own shoes and spend some time coming alongside someone else to help them dream or realize their dream.
Start your legacy now
I can't tell you the entirety of what my legacy will be when I die. But I can tell you that if people show up to my funeral and don't mention that I was helpful to them or generous with them, I'll have failed. If my kids don't hear the same narrative of my life (as seen by others) that matches what I shared with them regularly, I'll have failed.
Most importantly, if I don't start now, working on that legacy, turning giving, sharing, helping and generosity into regular daily habits, then I'll (for sure) have failed.
Here's the screenshot of my metrics on Kiva.
If you notice, I've hit 100% on the first two measurements. It wasn't very hard, once I found this screen and started watching my metrics.
But look at the other three metrics – countries, activities, and field partners. I'm not doing so great, huh?
If I wait until I know I'm dying, there's no chance I'll get 100% of these checked off. But if I start now, and work on them slowly, over the months and years ahead of me, it's not too challenging, is it?
I'm not saying these have to be your metrics. Your goals.
But surely you can't succeed and achieve if you don't even have goals or metrics. Right?
So tell me, what are you working towards?