So, what does it really mean to live a magnanimous life? If you look up the definition of the word magnanimous, it means bountiful and plentiful. It also means kind. So, by definition, it is the art of seeking a life that is bountiful, plentiful and kind. Being truthful, isn’t this what we all search for?
But living life this large is not an easy task. It takes fortitude. And courage. A tremendous amount of personal pride. And guts. And so much energy. Screw it we say, it’s just easier to keep things simple.
Yes, it is easier. But let’s be honest, that is not what keeps us from living a life that is large and full and amazing. It is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of exhaustion. Fear of criticism. And the list goes one.
January 2019, I made a commitment to live a magnanimous life. And its going pretty well. But it is a lot of intentional work.
So, let’s begin:
1) Be intentional on what it is you want your life to look like.
Years ago, Jack Canfield told a group I was in, that everyone knows exactly what they need to do to create the life they want, they just don’t do it because they don’t want to face the pain associated with the change. Many were in marriages that left them sad and empty, others in jobs that they hated – yet all had stayed for fear of change.
Step One – figure out what the changes are that hold you back and make a plan to change it. My life dramatically changed for the better when I finally face this one square on in the mirror!
2) You are one whole person – so if anyone area of your life is out of sync, ultimately this will impact every area.
Example – if you have a job that is going well and you are moving up the corporate ladder, but you are not taking care of yourself physically, eventually if this isn’t addressed, you will lose credibility because you are not putting your best foot forward from a personal presence perspective. Soon someone who has “it all” together will swoop by you and you won’t understand the true reason behind “what happened”.
3) No one really likes exercise – but do it anyway.
So many benefits. Endorphins, energy, good personal presence, stress relief and the list go on. I know – you don’t have time. But really, admit it, that’s a cop-out. We all get the same 24 hours. The difference between those that do this and those that don’t, are the people who live a magnanimous life.
4) Surround yourself with the right circle of five.
Your “tribe” as we affectionately call this, is critical in this journey. You need the five people you spend the most time with to make you better. They will encourage you and catch you when you fall and make you get back into the game.
5) Get yourself a mentor and a sponsor.
The mentor is someone that you give full permission to be candid with you without hurting your feelings. As we grow and mature, we learn so much from the mistakes in our lives. Our mentors help us to learn without the big mistakes – because they tell us what is being “perceived”, many times before it becomes reality.
A sponsor is someone who pulls you along with them within your career. This person has your back and is constantly offering you opportunities to show your skills, with the intent of getting you noticed for promotion. They also help you to build other champions in the room when needed.
6) Give first and get later.
Years ago, a newly minted community leader and I had lunch together. She commented about how she felt the community was unwelcoming to new people to the community. Well that is not the case, but most smaller communities have one standard rule of operations: If you want to get, you have to first give!
This leader was going around asking for help, raising funds etc. without offering to give help in return. The old Zig Ziglar adage comes to mind here, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want”.
7) Take risks – no one ever gets to home plate by keeping their foot on first base.
This is where that initial fortitude and courage we discussed comes into play. I just decided to take one of the biggest risks of my life, at the ripe old age of 55. Forbes asked me to author a book under the Forbes label. The undertaking is huge, both in time commitment and investment, not to mention the trickle-down effect to our organization with my upcoming travel schedule. There is so much to gain, but a lot to lose as well if things don’t go as planned. So how did I make this decision?
One word – regret. Never live your life with regrets. If you are scared but know you will regret not trying, then you have to go for it. But once you decide, you must be ALL IN. Give it everything you’ve got. You can do anything you set your mind to – you just have to believe.
8) Raise your hand, even if you have no idea how to start.
I get asked a lot how people move into leadership roles within their companies. There are many tangible details that happen, from being in the right place at the right time, to being the most gifted at the role. But there is an intangible that also assists in a quicker transition, and that is your willingness to take on tasks no one wants to try, or that appear difficult. Today’s leaders did that themselves at some point, so they are quick to notice the people within todays up and coming group that do the same thing. Raise your hand high!!
9) No apologies.
If you want to live a magnanimous life, you can’t go around worried about what others lens is on what you are trying to do. Your circle will support you, but outside of your circle you may experience jealousy or criticism. Who cares! This is YOUR life! You get ONE turn on earth. No apologies for living large!
I know this bullet will draw my own criticism, but I absolutely am resolute on the fact that none of mine or others magnanimous lives are without Christ. He directs all and is so willing to help those that seek him. Ask him for help. Ask him for comfort when scared. Turn over the decision making and ask for an answer.
Living a magnanimous life is hard to describe. At times it is hard, but the light at that end of the tunnel gets bigger and brighter and all of a sudden – BAM…you are living the life you always dreamed of. One thing I know for sure – you will never know if you don’t try.