Lately, I have been reflecting on what positive impact I am making in my world, if any.
I spent my teenage years and early twenties going through life mindlessly. I had no set plan for the future, no long-term goals to pursue, no particular interest in doing anything extraordinary.
I graduated high school with decent grades and went straight to college -one application and voilà!) At the time, it seemed to me that I was doing great things for my future. In retrospective, it was all about convenience. I applied to that university -a well-ranked one, I must add- because it was close to my house and my parents could afford it. I decided on my major, B.A. in Modern Languages, because math courses weren't required. Essentially, I made all those crucial life decisions based on convenience, not on any vision I had for my future. Not the smartest thing to do, right? Fortunately, studying five years of English in college paid off when we relocated to the U.S. years later.
In my twenties, I was lucky enough to receive good-paying job offers without looking for them, so, in my mind, life was good. I just had to keep going. I wasn't following any plan or goals, life was taking me by the hand, and I was walking along without asking questions. I didn't have a professional vision, not even an outline, to guide my steps.
At thirty, my focus shifted to my newborn baby. The day he was born, I proudly declared that I rather regret not having a career than not having been with him to celebrate every little milestone in real-time. It seemed like a very sensible decision, and still is, I’m sure. However, I now realize that raising my child could have been part of a broader professional vision. I was focusing on only one thing: my family.
All my jobs, either as a freelancer or employed, were almost always coincidental. Opportunities jumped up in front of me, and I seized them; they were never part of a professional vision; which now I sort of regret. Yet, many years later, the inspiration for that long overdue professional vision emerged from a casual question that popped into my head unexpectedly.
Suddenly, it hit me. Of all the things I've done, what would people remember me for the most? Besides raising my son as a man I'm incredibly proud of (credit also to my husband, who's an amazing dad,); what else would people remember me for?
Historically, there have been exceptional men and women whose immense mark will last forever. Still, most of us can only aspire to making a much more humble mark, if any, in our immediate world.
My urge to leave my mark in my world began when my dad passed away a couple of years ago. I started wondering who was going to remember him and for what. Sadly, I came to the realization that besides his family and a handful of friends, no one. He was a very private man, retired for over twenty years, and with few close friends. As far as I'm aware, he never did anything that would define him besides work and family. I was saddened by the thought that a good man’s journey on this earth was doomed to be forgotten in a matter of years.
After that, I reflected for a long time on ways of making my mark -I was already volunteering time to a non-profit and had been mentoring a child in my school district for years. As a result, I now have a professional vision that I'm following carefully, I have set goals I'm really proud and excited about. I’m living and working with purpose. I'm playing to my strengths and focusing on helping women feel less overwhelmed by their busy family and work schedules. I want to show moms that they too can make time to pursue personal projects without leaving their families behind one bit.
In spite of all the multiple things we have to do every day, each of us must make time to think of ways in which we can make our own personal mark. We must give something back and do something positive for our world. If it is really small or really big, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we do our part in making this world a better place.
Are you working on making your mark yet? Make time in your schedule to pursue what’s important to you, something you really want to do but can't seem to find the right time to do it. Figure out what is that you are passionate about and make the time for it. Now. The time is there, you just have to organize your schedule to see the open spaces you have to commit to your life project. It is worth it, I promise.