SERVE A PURPOSE GREATER THAN SELF“Here’s my question: What are you doing in life that makes your community a little bit better? What do you do? What is your service to a purpose that is bigger than you? Think about that.” Every day, Jeff asks himself the following three questions:Is my life meaningful?
- Is my life meaningful?
- Is my life fulfilling?
- Is my life rewarding?
Believe and Ask Questions: Good Things HappenEarlier that day, Jeff said he was 15 miles from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, where he was scheduled to take a morning flight to Minneapolis. He thought he’d get to the airport early and get a bit of work done before his flight. That 15 miles took him an hour-and-a-half, and when he got there, things were at a standstill because a bomb threat had been called into Sky Harbor. There were no flights coming in or going out. Rental cars and buses were being stopped and checked. The first class and priority boarding line was 100 people deep. At that point, his flight was supposed to have been boarding in 20 minutes. He mentioned this to one of the airline employees, but was told to get back in line. You might be wondering what this has to do with an Attitude of Gratitude. “I spend a lot of money traveling all over the world, doing the work that I do, and I’m t hinking that I have got to get to my flight, because Concordia College had a suicide about a month ago. I had to speak to these young people tonight and do my thing.” But he was surely going to miss his flight. “I kept believing and asking questions, and some of the American Airlines agents said they were sorry, but there was nothing they could do.” But Jeff kept asking, and he finally asked the right person – a lady who took charge, walked him through TSA and right up to the gate – where they checked his bag. He was the first one on the plane to Minneapolis. Another kicker is the fact that he thought he was speaking at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota but found out when he landed in Minneapolis that he was in fact specking at Concordia College in the twin cities of Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota. He made it. Jeff realizes that it might seem a bit narcissistic; flying first class and enjoying the privileges of frequent air travel – and with everything going in the world, he should be grateful to simply be alive. “I get it,” he said. “I pray every day for the people – whether it be the victims of the Las Vegas massacre, or the [recent church massacre] in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I understand. For millions of people, life goes on – and for many people, life stands still, and I am sorry.” As he was getting ready to speak in Fargo, he got a text from a friend that a young man in the Carolina Forest area of Myrtle Beach made that forever decision and hung himself that very day. “My friends, we live in a very uncertain time. If we let all of this affect us every single day, it’s going to take its toll emotionally – and for many of us, it does,” he said. But one thing that Jeff said keeps us going is this: We simply wake up, brush our teeth, wash our face, do our dance and walk out the door, putting one foot in front of the other. We keep stepping. Despite the tragedy and the negativity in our world, Jeff talks about three important points to foster a sense of gratitude and help us on our way:
- Value yourself. Value your close circle, the people in it – your family and your friends.
- Ask questions. Do the work. But also, be grateful for the little things that we have every single day. Shelter. Food on the table. Clean clothing. Unconditional love.
- Your daily choices: Choose a positive attitude and positive behavior, you get positive results. If you choose a negative attitude, you then have negative behavior and then you have negative results.
BETTER HEALTH, BETTER PERFORMANCEJeff’s program agreement for the two schools in Phoenix listed two school assemblies, but when he arrived, he was astounded to discover that he was to do two assemblies at each school. “What? I’m speaking four times in one day? No, man – I don’t do that,” he said. But he has worked for 25 years with teenagers, parents and mental health professionals – and he wasn’t about to let a situation like this get to him. “What was I going to do – argue the program agreement when I am already out here in Phoenix? The bottom line is that I just had to go with it – and you know what? I went with it,” he said. Last year, Jeff wouldn’t have been able to do this – but since he had taken major steps to get control of his health and physical well-being, including weight-loss surgery, a healthy diet and regular exercise, he was able to push through the four assemblies with no trouble. “I’m feeling good, but I’ll tell you, one thing that is hurting [is] my voice. But sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up and do what you’ve got to do – and remember: Lose your ego, open your heart and do the little things that other people aren’t willing to do.” Do these three things to help improve your health and your performance:
- Get your sleep.
- Get Proper Nutrition
- Get Involved.
The Importance of Self-Care“Whether you have children, a high-stress job with great expectations and a lot of responsibility, or it’s your family – hey, I get it I know,” he said. But through all the stress and the anxiety with everything that’s going on, [the] one thing that you cannot go without is taking care of yourself.” Jeff offered the following components of self-care that he feels are critical:
- Make sure you are eating well. One of the things that contributes to depression is sugar – and even just feeling bloated can trigger an emotional, negative response. Get proper nutrition.
- Make sure you exercise daily – getting the endorphins up and the blood flowing.
Gratitude and LossJeff woke up on this particular morning and thought about his new friends, Mike and Becky Bina, who recently lost their son Kyler to the forever decision of suicide. “Let me talk about gratitude,” he said. “Mike and Becky have an amazing family of support, love and togetherness – and that’s really helping them get through this whole thing.” Jeff recently spoke at a suicide awareness event set up by the Binas in Cresco, Iowa – and that is where they began their bond of friendship. “Mike and Becky: I’m waking up this morning, and I am grateful for our friendship. I’m grateful that we met, [but it was] through pain. You heard me say when I came up to Cresco that life doesn’t happen to us – life happens for us. You will understand this when you finish going through the grieving process and you get to that acceptance.” If the above seems insensitive or unsympathetic, that is not Yalden’s intention. Far from it. Most of us have experienced hardship in life, and some of us have been devastated by unspeakable loss – but we wake up the next morning. “As we wake up the next day, we move forward with one foot in front of the other. I think it’s important that we remember that everything we go through shapes us. Everything that we go through makes us the people that we are destined to become.” Life is a series of victories and defeats. “Some victories are epic, like the Houston Astros. Some victories are a part of life, like little league baseball. Some defeats are forever life-changing [think the Las Vegas massacre or the and the October truck attack in New York City], and yet a high school football team loses too.” Jeff reminds us that we are not victims in life, and we should never play that card. We cannot have that mindset. We are not victims. We rise up and become victors. But I’m thinking of gratitude – we are not a victim in life – we can’t play that card. We can’t have that mindset. We are not a victim. Rise up and become a victor. “We can all be bitter and angry over circumstances and situations, but what does that do? It doesn’t help. Let’s choose to become better. That’s a mindset,” he said. We all have a story, but do our stories define us – or do they shape us? “Do you live your life for titles or testimonies? That’s a matter of being selfish or selfless. My friends, I want to invite you to be really specific about something you are grateful for. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to go back to a painful moment in your life – and I want you to find gratitude in that situation.” Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE. Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. For a limited time, you can own Jeff’s new book, Your Life Matters, for only $0.99 on KINDLE. SUBSCRIBE to The BOOM Podcast. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Group and share your BOOM moments with us!