For as long as I can remember, I have never faltered when asked, “What is your life motto?” Before the question is even completely asked, I am already stating, “Never settle.” To be honest, I’m not certain where I picked up on this, or why I began to implement it in all that I do. Whatever goals I may have, be it personally or professionally, I don’t want to be considered part of the status quo, but rather always striving for more.
Although this question doesn’t come up often, it’s important to be prepared and have an answer ready to roll off the tip of your tongue. More importantly, a life motto isn’t just an idea that you say or think, it’s something you live – day in and day out. It’s something you practice and work damn hard to live up to. It personifies who you are as an individual.
When I propose this question to people, I would hope to hear a response that builds my curiosity, one that forces to me ask for more. I want to hear a response that raises the level of excitement in the room, and anticipation as to what in the hell is coming next to explain.
Make it personal, make it about you and the person you are yet to become. For example: Being happy? That’s great, everyone wants to be happy. How about ‘bringing happiness to the lives of everyone I meet’? Notice the difference? There is real and tangible impact with the latter.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to narrow your life mantra down to one statement. You may find that you have two or three for various components of your life, and that’s fantastic. My challenge is that you try to live it out every day this coming week. And if you sit back and realize that your life just might be missing this type of bold statement, no need to fret. The following is a list of ten mottos, or statements, that are worth considering.
- Don’t give up, don’t ever give up – I first heard this statement when Jimmy Valvano gave his acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s. As he struggled to make it to the podium, using every ounce of strength, he gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard for how to live your life while facing adversity. You can watch his speech here.
- Everyone is broke on a different level – My dad told me this at a young age. Regardless of your position in life, you are always going to want something more than what you have. Be it better health, more money, or a ‘dream job’, it’s easy to think you are ‘broke’ until you have it. And once you have it, you will likely find yourself feeling ‘broke’ until you get what is next on the ladder. Instead, understand that everyone experiences being broke, and be appreciative of what you do have.
- Having dreams is what makes life tolerable – Rudy Ruettiger was laughed at and ridiculed when he told people he wanted to play football for the University of Notre Dame. But, he had a dream, and a dream is something worth chasing. Chase them!
- You will never experience growth if you simply do better the things you are already doing – If you want to grow in your relationships with others, perform better at your job, or be a healthier person, then remove yourself from your comfort zone. Challenging yourself to something new is what forces you to learn something new. It causes you to fail. And from your failures you will learn to grow.
- Be selfish with your time – It’s easy to become a work-aholic or give all of your time to others without ever taking the time for yourself. You were put on this earth for a purpose, but it will be difficult to achieve that if you never give time to yourself. It’s okay to spend the night in. It’s okay forget about work for 24 hours. It’s okay to rest your body. Prioritize what you need to do in order to be the best you!
- You don’t always need a plan, you just need to be present – It’s okay to not know what is happening five minutes from now, or 5 weeks. Place yourself in the moment, and allow your decisions today to help place you where you need to be tomorrow.
- There are two ways to remove a Band-Aid: slowly and painfully, or quickly and painfully – your choice – There will be a point in time where you just can’t stand something. It could be the struggling relationship, your health, or a work environment. The longer you let these things go, the more they will eat away at you. As you begin to remove yourself from these situations, and either way, it’s likely to hurt yourself or someone else in a non-physical way. Are you going to move fast or slow?
- Can’t never accomplished anything – I had a baseball coach growing up who taught me an incredible amount of baseball knowledge, but also even more about the game of life. He would often provide suggestions to improving a certain skill, and there would be times players would respond with, “I can’t do that.” He would quickly respond with, “Can’t never accomplished anything.” In life, the only way to make can’t a positive, is to replace it with can – you can do what you set your mind to.
- Love does – I know, not much substance here, but love is the root of all good intentions. It shows that you care and support those around you in an unconditional manner. If you just ‘do love’, it just might surprise you at the ROI you will receive.
- Be you, because you are the only you – Never doubt the person you are and the uniqueness you bring to life. In a world of 6 billion people, you are the only you, and there isn’t one other person like you. You have everything you need to stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the life of others.
Why a Life Motto?
It shows people that you care more about making a difference in the lives of others than simply showing up each day. You must have a purpose. Your purpose is your motto. Your motto is what defines you. And it will be your motto that builds into the community of people around you to benefit to greater good.
Having a motto requires you to be brave. This week, I’m asking you to be brave. How? I want you to reply to me with what your life motto is. I want to know what it is that defines you and makes you the best you that you can be. Because when you are the best you, you refuse to settle!