When you experience the passing of one of the most important people in your life, you wonder how it will affect you. Will you be able to sleep? Will you just forget and move on? Will it change you in some lasting way?
A few weeks ago, early on a Friday morning, I was challenged with just that. The buzz of my brother’s text woke me with these words, “Jeff, I think you better get over here to the hospital. I don’t think Dad has long.”
I was startled awake. I quickly dressed and drove over to the Princeton University Medical Center. As I slowly walked into the hospital room, I saw the man I deeply loved and respected so much fighting for every breath. I bent down and held him. With tears streaming down my face, I said, “Dad, you’ve lived an incredible life. You’ve been faithful. You’ve been an incredible dad. You are really, really loved. Dad, you are free to go now...."
Hard to even write. And now I can’t get that memory our of my head or the memory of the moment or his peaceful final breath that came soon after.
And the message I keep hearing as I remember is just this: “Life is short. Don’t squander what you’ve been given. Get at it. Share your message! Do it now!”
So, I'm doing just that... even in this post.
Here’s my message! “YOU have something the world needs. YOU have a unique message. You have a gift we desperately need. AND Life’s way too short to hold it in. It's time to let go of that fear holding you back and share it. Don’t die without sharing it! Or wait one more day!”
Having coached hundreds of people for the last 16 years, I can hear what you may say in response to such a message. “Sounds great! Maybe for others. Sure. But, what exactly is MY unique message? What do I uniquely have to give? To whom? How?”
I've come to believe that most people... even really gifted ones... don't posess the necessary clarity around their unique message: what they MUST share with the world. And it keeps them from getting it out there!
They don't know how.
Many have told me things like,
- I would want to write a book…IF I knew what I should write about.
- I would want to speak… IF I knew what to speak about.
- I would want to coach others… IF I knew what to coach them in.
- I would want to start something… IF I knew what I cared enough about to persist.
Yep. I hear you. "IF"
And many I've talked to believe they’d require years to do something like find their unique message.
I disagree. it’s actually really simple. It’s actually in you, just below the surface and you need just a bit of reflection... or someone to unlock it for you.
Finding your unique message is not rocket science if you have the right tools.
AND: Unique messages aren’t the possession of special people unlike you. You simply need the willingness and the right way to unlock it. You need the courage to step back and explore what you really have to say. To excavate yourself.
So, what’s YOUR unique message?
Super simple here: Here are three questions you’ve likely never answered before. Copy them on a piece of paper, or in a journal, then take just a few minutes to answer them.1. If you had two minutes to speak to an audience of one million people open to listening (and you weren’t scared to death : ) what would you tell them? What message would you share?
Don’t overthink this or edit yourself. Just say or write what comes to mind. What do you really, really care for them to hear? Especially if they’re willing to act on it?2. Who would you want to be in that audience of one million people?
Be as specific as you possibly can. For example, are they moms? Men? Women? Teens? Poor people? Rich people? Leaders? Minorities? People in the third world? Or, just “people who will listen.”
Or would you want a specific person to definitely be in that audience? Someone you know or care deeply about? Who is that person or people?3. What would be different in their lives IF they truly listened to you?
Would they have more energy? More health? More meaning? More wealth? A better relationship? A truly spiritual existence? Something else?
Write down all things that come to mind. And based on that, from 1 to 10, how important to you is it for them to have that in your mind?
As you find AND share your unique message, you will have the things I most want for my “audience.”
You will offer what THEY will gain what you have to offer. Your message is about more than you! Do you realize that? Secondly:
By knowing your message YOU will have something worth gaining; a decisive cause and a clarity of purpose that fires up your passion and motivates you to do whatever it takes to see the message get to those who desperately need to know. You will clarity on the something worth getting up in the morning to do to gain either a meaningful paycheck…or paycheck!
Life is just too short NOT to simply find your unique message. Get clear. Really clear!
AND share your unique message with courage and confidence.
As Paul wrote to Timothy in the Bible
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (I Timothy 1:7, NKJV)
But more on that later!