Like Your Life Depends On It

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I was on a run yesterday morning. It was the last mile of a 6.5 miler through the streets of my town. 

The voice inside my head was telling me to turn in toward my house and not finish the run. My left knee was hurting. My hips were achy. I was feeling old and creaky.

Then other words popped into my mind:

"Keep going like your life depends on it."

And so I kept going.

As I ran that last mile, lots of questions came to mind.

"What if I wrote like my life depends on it? Or loved Kristin like my life depends on it?"

And then...

"Why don't I just hold the commitment to live my life like my life depends on it? Because it does!"

A few hours later, I'm on Zoom with my friend Paul Haury. Paul's a brilliant dude, and we serendipitously landed on this exact topic.

There's a story he and I had never talked about before - that 15 years ago, he flatlined 5 minutes into a shoulder surgery, and as they were about to declare a time of death, he came to. (Read the full story here.) We talked about that and I shared with him my insight from my run.

He pointed out something that I felt like I'd inherently understood but never put into words: The commitment of living like your life depends on it can be productive or it can go sideways.

It goes sideways when you use that commitment to force urgency. I've done that before in moments where I've taken a good, clear look at my own mortality. "Life is short, better start doing more!" It comes from a fear of regret, a fear of being forgotten, a fear of leaving no legacy. 

My own observation is that we also subconsciously point this commitment toward things like comfort, victimhood, and rationalizing our own inaction. That doesn't work well, either.

And it's productive and fulfilling when it translates to leaning more into what matters and letting the rest fall away. Urgency transforms into imminence. "This doesn't have to happen right now, but it's happening."

I say that imminence comes from intensity, which has a bad rap. Most people associate intensity with the person who takes everything they do way too seriously, like being the office ping-pong champion. But just like the example of forced urgency above, lots of what we call intensity is forced, too.

The intensity that comes from deeply holding something in your heart and carrying it through all you do - loving commitment, uncompromising values, desire to create and serve - is a much slower burn that paves the road to fulfilling the promise of "like your life depends on it."

"Like your life depends on it" is a powerful commitment - it runs parallel to "no matter what." 

It has the power to transform the entire lens through which you see your life. It's why I now say every day is the best day of my life (which is true, by the way).

How will you apply this commitment in your life?

Live like your life depends on it. Because it does.

Love, MFH

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