Author Todd Henry might argue no.
In his book Die Empty, Unleash your best work every day, he offers a different perspective. He shares a question asked by a friend “What do you think is the most valuable land in the world?”
The answer – the graveyard.
Too many people die with their rich offerings buried with them – “the unwritten books, never-launched businesses, the un-reconciled relationships.”
What do you want to do, but keep putting off? Henry’s goal is to create clarity and a sense of urgency to spur you into action. His title means that he wants us to die, having shared our wisdom, our expertise, with nothing more to give. In other words, we die empty.
Sure makes you think.
And it is also not about living your life like there’s no tomorrow. It is more about living with purpose and intention, not following our whims. He argues that to make a valuable contribution, you have to get uncomfortable and embrace lifelong growth and skill development.
To prod you into delving more into what you want out of life, he asks the reader to make a list of the five people they admire the most. What are their qualities? Are there any patterns? How do they resonate with you?
I remember a speech of Bonnie St. John Dean in which she advocated for being authentic and true to yourself. Her words resonated with me, and when I returned from that conference, I quit my government job. I just knew I could no longer pretzel myself into a bureaucrat.
He also encourages us to reflect for 10-15 minutes on what went well in our day, and what didn’t. What did we learn? And instead of living by our values, he believes developing our code of ethics will take us further and help us around difficult choices and decisions.
He asks us to write down words that describe how you want to engage in your work and then drill it down to three or four words. He uses the word empty to govern his day. Empty stands for:
Ethics – looking at your day’s appointments, review how you need to focus your time and energy. Decide how you will engage. Consider potential pitfalls and determine how you will deal with those situations.
Mission – Ask yourself what will change today because of my efforts. What needs to change?
People – Who will you interact with today and is there anyone with whom you need to reconnect?
Tasks – Consider your priorities. Does it have to be you that does the work or can someone else?
You – what are you going to do today to develop yourself.
Author and psychiatrist, Victor Frankl suggests that instead of asking what you expect out of life, ask yourself what does life expect from me?
And as Henry says in his book “Ultimately your life will be measured by what you gave, not what you received. Don’t hold out on the rest of us – we need you to contribute.”
What are you waiting for?
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.