Leadership

We have this one life to give to the world

We have this one life to give to the world. What we do with all the messy stuff in between, though, is ours to squander or embellish.

My Life in Speeches

We have this one life to give to the worldGood evening! It is a huge honor for me to be recognized by Western Mass Women magazine and to be among such a group of impressive, accomplished women.

The funny thing about being Woman of the Year for me is that it is accompanied by the need to come up with something intelligent to say in public, so instead of basking in the glow, I end up sweating through the ceremony and not eating my dinner! I did try to get Dee to let me wiggle out of it with a quick thank you, but she is a determined woman, and said a few words were part of the deal.

So, as I thought about what to say, I did what I usually do when confronted with something that scares me, I drifted in my mind through the various lessons that I’ve learned and the teachers who have taught me those lessons. Since I have a writer’s mind and a poet’s heart, those thoughts stray far and wide and most often result in me confronting the fact that we have this one life to give to the world and it has boundaries known only to God. What we do with all the messy stuff in between, though, is ours to squander or embellish.

When asked for the quotation that would accompany my profile in the magazine, I had to pause a while and think, until the right one became clear. As I get older and suffer more personal losses—the losses that are embedded in all our lives—the loss of parents, friends, our own failures of love or courage or imagination—it becomes clearer and clearer to me why one of the oldest stories in all of history is the story of the journey. It is so easy in the mad dash of everyday life to miss the road that stretches out behind and ahead of us—constantly meandering while we obsess with the crisis of the moment. It is true and it resonates deeply that sometimes, more often than not, we do have to go a very long distance out of our way to come back a short distance correctly.

How much forgiveness, of ourselves, of others, is encapsulated in that thought? Sometimes, a person has to go a very long distance out of her way to come back a short distance correctly. And why is that so true? It goes back to that fear thing again. It’s amazing how much time I spend avoiding what scares me, only to have it show up over and over again, asking for attention—because it needs to teach me something major that I need to learn to be more fully myself. So the road meanders, but brings us back again to our destination. The wisdom of the journey is both acceptance and action—a full engagement with our talent, our passion and our commitment to making a difference in the time we are given to act.

I was recently given a quotation from Steve Jobs that I would like to share with you as I say goodnight and thank you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

About the author

Kate Kane

Kate Kane, Managing Director of The Springfield Group, did not plan on a career at Northwestern Mutual when she joined the company more than 20 years ago. A sought after keynote speaker, Kate shares her life and lessons with Lioness readers through her speeches.

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