No. I’m not dead yet!
“Sounds just like you!” Mark said.
My friend Mark works out of town, so it seems as if we talk by text more than we do “over the fence.” It was one of those times. I was looking at my smart phone, waiting for his response, when those words — a screen flash — hit right between my eyes! They penetrated my forehead and were swirling around in my mind, causing one question to loop over and over again.
“How would I like people to describe me?”
Perhaps this is a question that can best be answered through the creation of a personal credo, a statement of key words about how you and I want to engage and the lens through which we view the world. Mark’s statement caused me to begin to ask myself three questions and I wanted to share them with you.
First: How would I like to be remembered? At first glimpse, this question would seem to suggest a gravestone. You know what I mean. “She liked to dance.” “Husband, Father, Son.” I guess one could think of it in that way. Mark allowed me to see a great big “and” related to this question as well.
It opened the door for a companion or second personal question: What am I doing now? This means taking a long deep look inside. It’s hard to do! You and I have little objectivity when it comes to asking hard, personally revealing questions. Yet, it can be done. I received another note, on screen, this week from another close friend asking for advice. I responded with what I knew could be gut-wrenching guidance. And, I worried! As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The next day he answered and had done the hard thing. I was wowed! He had taken action. He was doing.
I responded immediately with, “I admire you and what you have done greatly!” He has inspired me to do better — to live my credo purposefully every day.
Third: Am I living a purposeful life daily? Whether we like it or not, we all have consistency in the way we live. So ask yourself if your actions unfailingly show others who are, what you stand for and who you want to become. People know what to expect of you and me by observing our actions over time. It’s up to us to make sure they receive a view of what we expect of ourselves and in the future on their personal screens.
Another friend of mine wants others to view her as a “leader of character.” So, her personal credo is simple, “You can count on me!” She wants everyone who comes in contact with her to know they can count on her in every situation, especially in challenging and difficult conditions. She inspired me to strategically place a particular photo on my desk. It is another kind of screen that flashes an important message to me constantly.
The photo, encased in a protective plastic frame, centered right between my eyes, is of the U.S. Marine Corps India Company. My close friend Captain Matt is in that photo. He and his men remind me to be like them every day, to live a life of honor and fidelity, to always be true — traits I want to make sure “sound just like me.”
Lynn Butterfield is a resident of Erda and a managing broker for a real estate company.