I’m sure that you, like me, struggle each day to juggle your important conflicting priorities. From dedicating precious time to family and friends, to doing your work well, to focusing on your health and well-being, to using your creativity, to helping others, to getting enough sleep – there are an unlimited number of important areas in our lives that we attend to daily. But amidst all of this, are you dedicating time for the things that matter MOST – that make you feel alive, inspired and ready to be more?
In my coaching work with women, we speak daily about the importance of identifying your highest priorities, and honoring them. But in reality – DOING this is far more challenging than talking about doing it. But when we do – when we say YES! to making the time to pursue what matters most to us – it dramatically changes the shape and direction of our lives for the better.
I had an experience of this yesterday – a deeply humbling, inspiring and moving day that made me realize suddenly that I want to do and be so much more.
I was invited to attend the U.N. Women for Peace annual awards luncheon, and then join a hundred others in a march in NYC to support ending violence against women. As a person in the media, I’m grateful to receive many invitations to exciting events, and I have to turn many down each month. But when I learned of this event, in honor of International Women’s Day, something inside me knew I had to make the trip to New York City, and participate. I had a feeling it would be a game-changer for me, and it was.
I listened with awe and humility as I learned more about the UN Women for Peace (UNWFP). Founded in 2008, under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, UNWFP promotes and advances the goals of UN agencies whose missions are to provide opportunities for women through social, cultural, educational and empowerment programs while partaking in a global peace building process. UNWFP focuses on supporting and funding UN humanitarian programs for women in developing countries and countries in conflict, and by providing scholarships to benefit underprivileged women to study at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
UN Women for Peace also supports the UN Trust Fund To End Violence Against Women. The Trust Fund, established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, assists efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, provides services to those affected by violence and strengthens the implementation of laws and policies on violence against women and girls. The Trust Fund is particularly concerned with ending violence against women in developing countries and countries in conflict. The Trust Fund invests, through its partners, in long term solutions for a world free of violence. UN Women for Peace’s contributions to the Trust Fund directly fund these efforts.
During the awards luncheon, we heard from Trudie Styler - winner of the 2014 UN Women for Peace Humanitarian Award – speak of her important work for the environment and human rights, through her role as UNICEF Ambassador, her fundraising efforts and documentary film work, and through her and her husband Sting’s Rainforest Fund, an organization devoted to protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples. We heard too from Dina Powell, representing Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, the 2014 UNWFP Achievement Award winner. 10,000 Women is a five-year, $100 million global initiative to help grow local economies and bring about greater shared prosperity by providing 10,000 underserved women entrepreneurs with a business and management education, access to mentors and networks and links to capital.
I share this experience with you because it was deeply inspiring to me, and it spurred me to want to figure out “how can I help in a deeper way?” In that three-hour experience, I met scores of women who are 100 steps ahead of me in how they are using their talents, gifts and passions to make an enormous difference in the world. They aren’t wasting time – they’ve figured out exactly what matters most to them, and they’re putting their time, money, energy, passion and commitment into to it, full-throttle. No excuses, no doubts, no confusion, no waffling – they are clear, focused, and passionate about their causes. As Trudie Styler has so aptly shared, “If I’m connected to an idea, it just doesn’t let me go.”
I left with new resolve to find new ways to help women globally – not just those in the U.S. and abroad who want better careers and lives, but those who don’t have the advantages we have, who desperately need a supporting hand and beacon of light to help them build new lives for their children, their families and their communities. I’m ready to do more.
Do you know what matters most to you, and are you carving out time in your life to pour yourself into those issues and endeavors that make you feel most alive? My dear friend Charles Decker wrote on my Facebook page – “People find time for things that matter to them.” I love this idea, but sadly, in reality, I see every day that it’s not the case. So often, we stay stuck in our small worlds and our small spheres of influence, thinking we can’t do more.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I hope you’ll take today to stop your normal routine, step out of your box, and stretch yourself into new endeavors and causes that help remind you of why are on this planet, today.
Are you ready to carve out time and energy for what you care about deeply?
(For more about UN Women for Peace, visit www.unwomenforpeace.org)