Be honest with yourself. Be honest about who you are and what you want for your life. I knew early on who I was and what I wanted. Some do not come to that knowledge until later in life. Only when you know who you are and what you want will the path present to your passions. A one-size-fits-all approach to life may get you through life, but it won’t allow you your best life.
Be truthful with others. Think critically and listen to the little voice it drives. It will always tell you the truth – if you listen and are honest. It is the voice that lives in love for your fellow man and logic. Lifelong credibility and all relationships demand reliability and truth. It doesn’t mean you won’t do things wrong. You most certainly will. It does mean that telling the truth is the quickest way to redemption and growth.
Know your unique ability. You would do well to constantly define your unique ability. It’s not always what you think, but it is what delivers for you. Learn it and use it. For instance, I do a lot of single shows. I speak to my audience as well as play piano and sing for them. I tell stories to get a few laughs and set up the next song. I noticed, over time, that I got more compliments on my stories than for my playing and singing. I realized just how much I loved telling stories. Now, if I could only dance.
Know your value. The conventional corporate model is suffering currently due to lack of employees. The baby boomers went home with the pandemic, and the young are not filling the bill. A lot has changed. The ability to work, learn, communicate and be entertained remotely has revolutionized the opportunities for the labor force and produced any number of new business models. Study them all, and see where your value lies. 2022 will find me doing audio production for clients around the world. Your market is no longer the Springfield metro area or southwest Missouri. It’s the world.
Look for the better way. Tech and human systems change at lightning speed. The future belongs to those who can see the next steps in the evolution of process, service or product. Constantly look for a way to do what you do better, more efficiently. You will become indispensable to those who rely on your service.
Be civil. Treat your neighbor and your brother as you would have them treat you. You don’t have to agree with them to be civil to them, even friends with them. One of my musical partners has been my best friend and bandmate for 45 years. We couldn’t be any more different when it comes to politics. Don’t let politics choose your friends or your friends choose your politics.
Make your happiness. Happiness isn’t something you find; it’s something you make. If you know who you are and what you want, you can honestly pursue your passions in career and life. But you need to decide what enough is. You have to come up with a life mix of work, family and education/entertainment that works financially for you and/or your family. The income my wife and I produce is adequate to support the life mix we want. We are not wealthy, but we most certainly are happy!
Be grateful. Wake up every day and be grateful for your life and all it holds. Be grateful, and then act on it. The best way I know to feel grateful is to help those less fortunate in our community.
Better your community. Be part of a charitable program in your community. Nothing will make you feel better. Nothing will inspire you more. Community residents love to hear what you and/or your business are doing in the community. I direct Play It Forward SWMO, and my wife, Jill, participates in the Gathering Friends for the Homeless program. Helping those in need in our community will bless us. I promise.
Work for or build the business with three bottom lines. A friend of mine, Galen Chadwick, gave me this concept years ago, and it makes so much sense. American business will have to support the fight against climate change. In order to do that, they must be honest about how their business impacts the public and the environment. To that end, business must self-regulate by assessing, No. 1, environmental impact, No. 2, population impact, and No. 3, profit. I guess you could call it a greener, more compassionate capitalism. It’s simple, honest and addresses the problem directly, and that’s the reason it will never happen until we get youth in positions of power. They have a stake in the world to come. It seems my generation is trying to cash in, at all costs, before they leave this place.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.