Don’t Take Special for Granted

March 1, 2018By Bill RatliffUncategorized

My posts typically deal with insights I’ve gained in my career as a mediator. That said, mediation is what I do. It’s not who I am. I’m a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend, a lawyer, a partner, a Christian — and so many other things, in addition to being a mediator. In that regard, you’re the same as I am. The many different hats you wear in life contribute to who you are, and what’s genuinely important to you.

I watched a good bit of this year’s Winter Olympics — an event where you have the best of the best, competing in a variety of sports, to determine who is truly the best in the world on a given day.

I recently read that when Mike Krzyzewski was coaching the US Men’s Olympic basketball team, he told them something that struck me as profound advice. Advice I’ve used as the title and theme of this column: “Don’t take special for granted.”

At the time, Krzyzewski was speaking to players who included some of the best in the history of basketball — Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant, to name a few. Coach K was reminding these men that what they were experiencing would soon be over, and if they didn’t pause long enough to genuinely enjoy the experience, they would be missing something great.

How about you?

How often do you find yourself just muddling through life? How many days do you find yourself just trying to wear your many hats as well as you can — while keeping all your proverbial plates spinning?

Sure, we wear some hats more seriously than others. But how many of us are taking Special for granted in our lives? I know I do just that way too often in my own life.

My kids are grown, and I now have seven grandchildren. I still remember the day my first son was born. Today, he’s a 36-year-old man. I’ve seen a lot of my life pass by before I ever took the chance to stop and appreciate the special moments that happened along the way.

Each day is a gift — and when it’s over, you can’t get it back. Most of us will be given quite a few more additional days, but we’ll never be given this day again. What will each of us have to show for this day when it’s over? Will we have made the world a better place? Could we have made somebody’s load any lighter? Did we make anybody laugh — or cry? What would a review of this day reveal about what’s genuinely important to you — or to me?

I certainly don’t presume to tell you what you should be doing with your life. But I do believe we all need to be intentional.

“Intentional” is my word for 2018. I meditate on it often. How we spend our time indicates what matters most to us. After a typical day, try taking an inventory of your activities. I’ve done it, and then I asked myself: “Did it reveal what you wanted it to about yourself?” I can’t say the answer was entirely to my liking, so I asked myself what changes I could make to ensure that I stop taking Special for granted.

I hope you’ll find the idea worth trying yourself sometime. And I hope you find the exercise rewarding. In the meantime, enjoy the journey!