What is Your Personal Highest and Best Use?
So I had an opportunity to touch on this topic at our annual event in Vegas. But unfortunately that’s all I did. I took people’s time to kinda make mention of this idea in an admittedly underprepared kind of way. Yeah…didn’t hit that one out of the park. But the reality is, it’s a damn good question and therefore it deserves deep consideration and sincere thought even if I failed to give the subject the kick ass Power Point I believe it deserves. Since Vegas, I have found myself fixating on this subject. And at first I thought the reason for my preoccupation was me grinding on the fact that my presentation of the idea was underwhelming at best. Then I realized that my fixation on this wasn’t just that I had fallen short, it was that I hadn’t given an important idea the attention, expression and encouragement I truly believe it deserves. I couldn’t let it go not because I had blown it, but because I hadn’t done justice to a deeply important idea that truly needs to be asked…and answered, by each and every one of us.
As we relentlessly seek to maximize nearly everything in our lives; maximize our time, our tasks, our equipment, our expertise, and our investments, I wonder how rigorously we pursue OUR highest and best use. We are each born and brought into this world with fabulously unique gifts and abilities. And it is precisely those gifts that point us toward the highest and best use of Ourselves. The best use of our time, our energy and our passion can only be said to be in play if it involves what we were born to contribute. And we are born to contribute that which we love most. The inescapable reality is that unless we are serving this essential part of ourselves, we will be grinding out an existence versus living fully and freely. Do you crave spending time with people, savoring every word of challenging, important, transforming conversations? Do you feel most engaged and alive when you “volunteer” to help coach your son’s high school football team? Are you in your glory out at a barn, immersed in the aroma of hay, horses and the sultry smell of fine leather? Do you want to be drowning in fabrics, swatches, stains, finishes and visions of creating beauty out of simple surroundings? Do you feed off the satisfaction of transforming a house from a worn and weathered state to something profoundly better than what you began with? Is it capturing enduring photos of extraordinary moments that may be lost without your lens? Or negotiating deftly and expertly incredible business opportunities that attain a win/win which only you saw and understood how to achieve? Is it connecting people and making possible the “home” they have always dreamed of or is it swimming with whales and being a conduit for impacting efforts towards conservation? Is it planning a party that people talk about forever or hunting the wild, untamed territories of Alaska? In other words, your highest and best use is only to be found in doing what you truly and absolutely love.
It is so very tempting and easy to say that you love coaching football, but it doesn’t exactly pay the bills. Or that fishing is what you most long to spend your days doing, but that just isn’t realistic. We tend to default to an all or nothing notion of how we are supposed to engineer our lives and in doing so we dispose of the truth. The truth is that we are wonderfully complex. Most of us have many things that light our fire and engage our sense of purpose. There is ALWAYS a way to weave what you love into your life. Just because spending your days fly fishing doesn’t pencil doesn’t mean that finding time for it won’t pay incredible dividends in your overall success. If you delight in gardening but who has time for that with a busy law practice, I can unashamedly assert that your busy law practice will benefit greatly from you finding time to dig in the dirt. Choosing not to engage in our calling is not a matter of time it is a matter of excuses. Excuses that will never serve your joy or wellbeing because they directly undermine the highest and best use of your life. The interesting thing is we don’t choose our highest and best use, it chooses us. Did I make a decision at four years old to love horses? Nope. It’s been there since I took a breath. And so it is for us all.
I can look at my phone and know with somewhat mortifying certainty that I use about 20% of its capability. My phone is hard wired to perform an incredible array of tasks and I employ but a paltry few of them. Which translates into the reality that I am WASTING much of my phone’s potential because I haven’t learned how to have it serve me in more ways. We are all WASTING our promise if we don’t insist on finding ways to make certain we are embracing and implementing what we love in order to serve our life. Just like a phone, our personal highest and best use is a hard wired part of our being. As such knowing, understanding and honoring that part of who we are isn’t merely important it is utterly essential if we desire joy, purpose, connection, abundance and success.
So the somewhat ruthless question is; are we employing our passion to serve our life and those we love? Or have we forsaken our irreplaceable calling in favor of a job that pays the bills, a career that the parents wanted us to pursue, a relationship that lacks depth and meaning and a life that, in general, could be defined by resignation rather than realization. Have we resigned ourselves to be content with what is or are we determined fiercely and unapologetically to realize what we are capable of achieving? The unmistakable bottom line is that realizing our highest and best use must be our highest priority. Plowing through a life that lacks purpose and passion is a wretched waste. A waste of time? Perhaps. But most tragically it is a waste of YOU. Each of us began as a unique and irreplaceable Wonder. And Wonders were not made or meant to be trifled with. Finding, living and loving what we are meant for is the power that drives and delivers our dreams.