A couple of weeks ago I had a rather busy day scheduled out. The first part was participating in the Axelson Symposium – an annual day-long educational event for nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area that is presented by The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University. As one of the sponsors of this event we are able to not only have a booth to share our services with the attendees, we are also able to participate in the presentations throughout the day, which are very insightful. Following this event, I was also scheduled to attend out local United Way dinner the same evening – suffice it to say that this was going to be a long day without much of a break!
I will admit though that I was very interested in hearing especially two of the presentations. The first one was at the Axelson event. The closing session was “Life is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffet.” While most everyone has heard of his father Warren Buffet, certainly I thought, that Peter would no doubt have some very interesting thoughts and insights as well. And that he did… while a fairly short presentation, Peter did share much about what his upbringing was like and how each of us is challenged with decisions in life with regard to taking the path of least resistance, or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction. As a musician and also a philanthropist, Peter combined his passion of music with his life experiences and philosophy on giving as well.
The second part of the day – actually evening, was an opportunity to not only meet up with many other community members that help support our local United Way, but also to hear the keynote speaker – Scott Parazynski.I was rather looking forward to hearing Scott talk, as I had the chance to read a little about his life experiences through the program book that we had printed in advance of the event. One could easily suggest that he is the classic overachiever – during a 17 year career with NASA, Scott had flown on 5 shuttle missions and conducted 7 spacewalks. In addition to this career, he was a commercial pilot and is also a physician – currently the Chief Medical Officer at the University of Texas. And oh by the way, he has also climbed Mt. Everest! It was truly an interesting talk that he gave – sharing his drive to achieve all that he has set out to do – and continues to do! More than one of us at the dinner made comments with regard to that even though we ourselves might have achieved much in our lives, compared to Scott, we did not match up that well.
Which ultimately brings me to the real point of my blog post today, and that is now two weeks later that I have had the chance to read thru the book that Peter Buffet had written and shared with us at the Symposium, entitled “Life Is What You Make It.” I was able to get some great insight and thoughts on what helps shape each of our lives – from the very beginning, thru some of the difficult decisions each of us make – including mistakes as well. One section in particular – What we mean when we say “success,” was a great read that suggests success is not just measured by the money we make, or even the achievements we reach – but rather by the value that we ourselves place on a given goal and what we feel in our own inmost hearts. And hence, even though we may not achieve the life of an astronaut, mountain climber or physician like Scott Parazynski, that does not mean that each of us cannot, or in fact do not, lead a very successful and rewarding life as we ourselves see it!
So what is your passion?