There are few things that are more satisfying in life than getting up each morning with a purpose for your day. This week's lesson was inspired by an ABC World News broadcast last Friday, when Michael Pascuma was chosen as the "Person of the Week" by the newscast. Michael appeared on a segment by ABC as a cheerful 96 year old gentleman who has worked at the New York Stock Exchange for 80 straight years, where he started as a 16 year old clerk in 1926. He's seen the stock market at its best and worse. He was there the day the market crashed in 1929 as well as the day that planes crashed into the WTC on 911, where his son worked and was killed. He rang the opening bell the day the market resumed trading after 911. According to Michael, here's how his days start: "I'm up at six in the morning. I say my prayers. I get dressed and shave. I come down here to the Exchange about 7:30am and I say a few more prayers here. Then I go to work." What an inspirational piece of journalism!
Recently I discussed Joe Paterno's remarkable 56 year tenure as a football coach at Penn State University. I mentioned that finding someone who worked that long for the same employer was like finding a needle in a haystack. I just found that needle named Michael Pascuma. Neither he nor Joe Paterno look, act or feel their age. And both of them claim to wake up each morning with a burning passion and purpose for their life each day.
We all need role models to look up to today. Longevity itself is a great characteristic to use as a model for success and happiness. During my own lifetime, I can honestly say that there were a relatively small number of days that I got out of bed with no real purpose for my day. If I had to guess, more than ninety percent of that small number of days occurred when I felt ill and just wanted to sleep off whatever was bothering me. Thus, there were only a handful of days that I couldn't wait for the sun to rise and get started on some worthy purpose.
When you have a purpose and plan for your day, there's very little time to sit and worry or become depressed. We all have challenges and hurdles to face each day. But a purpose and a plan can work wonders toward developing a positive attitude and overcome the many obstacles we are sure to be challenged with daily. The difference between worry and depression verses maintaining a positive attitude and obtaining satisfying results is having a purpose and a plan and then MOVING into ACTION! There are thousands of worthy purposes to get excited about. There are an equal number of reasons to hate your job, hate your life or just sit around and do nothing and get depressed.
My Mom was a great role model for me and taught me a lot about purpose. Even as worked at a job outside the house until her fifties, she was one of the most energetic and organized home-makers I've ever known. She ran our household like a CEO with a purpose for running the best company on the planet. Each week she cleaned a certain part of the house on schedule and with great pride. The floors on Monday; the windows on Tuesdays; and every weekday had a zone to be cleaned. She was just as methodical in the kitchen when it came to preparing our very tasty meals. We knew what day it was by the meals we were eating. And we loved every one of them.
Mom was methodical in everything she did. For example at the beginning of every month, my Mom wrote out her monthly greeting cards for a long list of family members and friends. She put them in date order and mailed them out methodically, at least ten days before the due date. During my entire lifetime, she never forgot to send a birthday, anniversary, graduation or a multitude of holiday and occasion cards to me, my wife and my kids. You knew it was from Mom because it was always the first card and sometimes the only card you received.
Mom's entire life revolved around passion and purpose. Her life was simple yet so meaningful. Right until her last day, if you would ask my Mom how she was doing, her response was always "WONDERFUL." She had many illnesses and surgeries during her lifetime. However she would always bounce back with enormous energy and zeal because she had a purpose each day. She had to take care of her husband and family and get all her stuff done! There was no time for in-action, worrying or getting depressed about her challenges. There were things to do and she had to get moving. What a legacy and great example I had to follow!
Thus, the next time you begin to feel sorry about yourself or your life inject a new purpose back into it. Get moving and don't waste time worrying. Purposeful action will get your adrenaline flowing and move your attitude needle in a positive direction. Make living each day with purpose, your New Year Resolution! And enjoy doing so.