“The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and ability to affect those around him positively” – Bob Marley
Recent changes that I have experienced in both my personal and professional life has, once again, provided me with the opportunity to pause and reflect on my achievements so far. Apart from my professional and personal growth by taking part in various forms of academic study, surviving my three divorces and a thirty year police career, my two children are definitely at the top of my list of greatest achievements. Why? Not because of their achievements academically or because they are high fliers in their careers, that’s not important.
I have always told my children that I want them to be happy and content with their lives, as a career with a grand title or five figure sum salary does not necessarily equate to success, satisfaction or happiness. All these factors mean different things to different people, which is why it is folly to compare your life with another. Do you know everything they’ve had to do to get where they are? Would you make the same choices?
The reason my children rank top of my achievements so far is because they are great people. I am often complimented by others, from various walks of life and ages, that my children are ‘so lovely’ or ‘a credit to me’. It’s nice to hear that I got something right in raising them, but it’s also a reminder that often we take those closest to us for granted.
This resonates pretty strongly for me at this time. I lost my mother last year after she had suffered from dementia for many years. Although she didn’t know who I was for the best part of the last year of her life, the void she left will never be filled. I remember some great memories with her, the holidays we shared, the trips we took and also the way she would look disapprovingly over her glasses and say “Marcia”.
An acquaintance of mine has recently been told that one of her daughters is terminally ill with an incurable, rare and aggressive form of cancer. She has now devoted her life to her daughter, to the detriment of her career.
I have come to realize that all the money or status that you achieve in your lifetime means nothing unless it had meaning and found a way to benefit others.
I've identified a few questions that I believe everyone should ask themselves to ensure they are showing those closest to them how much they really appreciate them:
- When was the last time you told your nearest & dearest that you appreciated them?
I didn’t say tell them that you love them. The “L” word often has a tendency to be overused and become an automatic response used by many of us all too quickly and easily. Appreciate is a different matter. Appreciate means that you truly acknowledge all they do for you and the value they bring your life.
- What is it that you appreciate about them? Be specific and give examples.
If you can identify what they do that you appreciate, you will be more likely to acknowledge it the next time that they do it and realize how lucky you are to have them.
If you want to maintain your relationships, it’s a great idea to value the people closest to you as much as the job that you’re paid to do. True – the currency may be different, but the loss can have just as much impact on your life.
Yes, it’s difficult for some people to spend less time at work and more time with their families. If you require any help or guidance regarding how you can better manage your time or what you can do to show those around you how much you truly appreciate them, life coaching can be a great support.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!