Discovering Life Beyond Success

By Doug Armey

U.S. Navy Seals by Kathryn Whittenberger, U.S. Navy

A Navy Seal officer spoke at our Rotary club a few months ago.  He was in his late thirties, trim, confident yet humble.  He had served several tours overseas in combat areas.

During his last duty in Iraq his squad was ambushed.  Several were killed in the firefight and he was wounded.  He was shipped home to a military hospital for care.  During his stay he met many soldiers who had been severely injured leaving them permanently disabled.

As he walked the hospital, visiting soldiers, he asked them, “Where do you want to serve now?”  Most wanted to go back to their units.  They had signed on for this and this was how they wanted to serve.  For many that wasn’t an option.

So he asked, “If you can’t go back, where do you want to serve next?  How do you want to serve in another way?”

Those conversations led to a whole new life for those soldiers and for him.  He and friends sponsored some disabled vets to pursue dreams of helping others.  They’ve helped scores of men discover what they were good at and what they dreamed of doing.  They enabled them get involved in organizations where they could meaningfully serve once again.

He told the story of one young man who loved horses and wanted to help disabled children.  They connected him to an organization that uses horseback riding to help rehabilitate children.  This young man served an internship and today works helping children in that organization.   In the process he has found wholeness himself.

When our speaker finished there were tears in my eyes.  Here was a man who could have said, “I’ve given enough.”  Yet instead asked, “Where can I serve next?”  And it changed his life and the lives of countless others.  Not just of the soldiers but also their families and those they help.  He had been successful.  Now he’s discovering life beyond success.

Many of you reading this have achieved some success in school and career.  You may still be in pursuit of further success but in your quieter moments you realize there must be more to life.  Deep inside you long to make a difference.   You want your life to count for something beyond yourself.  Sometimes you try to squelch it with frantic behavior.  If you just stay busy enough you won’t think about it.  But that doesn’t fill up the yearning.

Rick Warren, in the Purpose Driven Life writes, “Don’t settle for just achieving ‘the good life,’ because the good life is not good enough.  Ultimately it doesn’t satisfy. . . .  Aim instead for ‘the better life’—serving God in a way that expresses your heart.”

The Bible says, A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (I Corinthians 12:7  NLT)

And, “How blessed is he who considers the helpless . . . .  He shall be called blessed upon the earth.” (Psalm 41: 1-2  NASB)

Each of us have gifts, abilities, interests and experiences that are different from everyone else.  God made each of us unique so we could use that to help others.  We can even use the difficult circumstances of our lives for good, turning our struggles into a blessing.

And when we do we discover a richness of life that goes beyond success.  We answer the question in each of us, “What am I here for?”  And what grows out of it is true honor, real friendships and healthy self esteem.  Truly we discover life beyond success.

So what do we do?

Follow the procedure the soldiers went through.

First, answer “How do you want to serve?” The question is not, “Do you want to serve?”  What are your dreams of making a difference?

Second, to help you answer that question ask, “What am I good at? What do I like to do?  Where are my gifts?  What interests me?”

Third, ask, “What is my uniqueness that comes out of my gifts and experiences? How am I uniquely qualified?”

Fourth, find someplace where you can use your uniqueness. Is there an organization doing what you would like to do?  Do you need to start something new?

Fifth, get involved. Kind of goes without saying, yet people sometimes have big dreams but never get launched.  So do something.  Get started.  Refine it along the way.

What you’ll find is a new level of excitement that refreshes.  Life will have new meaning.  You’ll meet new friends and be a part of new opportunities.

Know what else?  You’ll find your own success growing as a result.  God will bless your life in return.

So step out of your comfort zone.  Choose to live beyond success.   Answer these questions right now.  And get started.

Let me know about your experience.  I’d love to share it.

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Important Disclosures:

Douglas Armey, the LPL Financial adviser associated with this website, practices in Fresno, California and may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the following states:  California, Idaho and Oregon.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

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