February 28, 2017
Did you happen to watch Viola Davis’ Oscar acceptance speech recently for Best Supporting Actress in Fences? It was passionate, articulate and moving. I was totally with her right up to the point where she said, “We (actors) are the only profession that celebrate what it means to live a life”. Really? I thought.
Don’t get me wrong. I think she’s an amazing talent. But really? Is Hollywood the only place that celebrates what it means to live a life? Aren’t there any other people who fully live life?
Yes, of course there are people…some I know well who appear to be on life support. But I also know of countless people that demonstrate how to live an abundant life each and every day. Let me give you a few examples:
- Life #1 - Nate is in his late 20’s and a financial analyst for a growing consulting firm. He not only fully shows up every day for work providing leadership in his company, but also volunteers in a mentorship program at his church. Nate has a natural sense of curiosity that leaves people knowing that he’s genuinely interested in their success.
- Life #2 - Sue is an amazing volunteer and advocate for many causes. She marches, volunteers and gives her time, talent and money to women’s issues, peace in the middle east, and a church pantry in the gang-ridden area of Chicago called Lawndale. She’s equal parts dove and lion.
- Life #3 - Laura, also a millennial like Nate, works tirelessly for rights of the unborn, and in a way that is winsome and respectful. Laura’s personality oozes joy, love and commitment. I also know that she is a fierce friend in the best sort of way. You can’t help but be affected by her way of being.
- Life #4 - Don has a way of asking piercing, important questions in every conversation, with every person. Each encounter with Don is like an intervention where you leave feeling better about yourself. He’s a master at asking life purpose questions. And as a university president, he’s busier than most. He wouldn’t have to give generously of his time, but he genuinely believes that relationships are a key currency to leading and building successful organizations.
None of my four friends are actors. What they have, and freely share, has nothing to do with age, income, IQ, job title, college degree(s), or status. They all live life to the full, and inspire me to be a better man, father, husband, worker and friend. They each possess a powerful perspective that causes them to have a positive attitude, to be curious, caring, and giving at each interaction. They live life in a way that is hyper-intentional focusing on others rather than self. This costs nothing. It’s free, and it yields amazing results.
So let’s all prove Viola Davis wrong today and every day after that. No offense intended Viola. Let’s make a difference by noticing people, affirming them, supporting and nurturing authentic relationships. It’s free…and you’ll feel better too.
This blog is to share my perspective on how we all have the ability to create new endings to our stories that are meaningful, powerful and filled with hope. I facilitate transformational change processes helping organizations achieve maximum mission impact. Also, I provide leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.