Wednesday, January 19, 2005

This Is Your Life

Remember the old Ralph Edwards show This Is Your Life, a "semi-documentary-style presentation wherein the lives of show-business personalities, who appear as guests, are relived through the testimonies of friends and family" (from Tim's TV Showcase website)? Maybe I'm showing my age, but I vaguely remember the host reading from a big book the highlights of some celebrity's life and then voices would come from backstage telling stories about the person, and they would re-unite for a wonderful homecoming celebration.

That's the topic of today's blog for a couple of reasons. First of all, how often do people get the chance to 1) have their life's accomplishments recognized and celebrated in this way and 2) to be part of celebrating someone else's life's accomplishments? Usually this is what funerals or wakes are for, right? Isn't it strange that our customs are set up to celebrate and acknowledge us when we're not even around to appreciate it?

Another reason that is the topic of today's blog is for the amazing clarity those four words have the potential to provide. THIS - IS - YOUR - LIFE. No more. No less. This is it. You can even get a slightly different context for yourself if you shift the emphasis. THIS - is - your - life. This - IS - your - life. This - is - YOUR - life. And this - is - your - LIFE. Try each of those on. Do you see what I mean?

I'm reminded of how important it is for us to remember that for ourselves. It really affects the way we live (or exist), the way we work (or survive), the way we play (or sulk), and the way we respond (or blame).

I think we're getting more ready for Bill Jensen's 2002 book called "Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract." In this book, which was released shortly after 9-11 (which we all know affected our workplaces way more than we could have ever imagined), Bill writes about how
"more than ever before, we're rediscovering that people do matter! The human-side of the equation still drives productivity, efficiency, and business results." (from the book jacket)

Work 2.0 is about a new work contract that employees can write as they look for work that lights them up and makes them come alive.

It may sound a bit radical to state our needs as employees. Bill warns in the welcome of the book: "This is a book for doers. Builders. Leaders who are willing to get their fingernails dirty in the details....It is a book for people who are willing to put their values and passions, as well as their accountabilities, on the line."

But, after all, This Is Your Life.

Celebrate who you are - and celebrate with others. Life is too short - and too long - to spend your days, hours, minutes, doing things that don't resonate with you. If we aren't able to articulate our own wants and needs, how can we expect others to do that for us? They can't read our minds - especially if we haven't got a clear message to put out there for them.



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