What Is The One Thing?

One Thing dan skognes leadership development trainer coach consultant motivation blogger speaker

I was at a leadership conference recently, and they brought up one of my favorite movies. Remember the movie, City Slickers?  What a great flick! Billy Crystal was going through a mid-life crisis along with his buddies, so they decided to go on a cross-country cattle drive to “find themselves.”  One of the most memorable scenes is when Curly (the gruff old cattleman) and Billy are riding along just talking man to man.  Curly is obviously content with who he is….and Billy wants to know the secret.

Curly looks at him and tells him that the secret to life is one thing….and he hold up his index finger.  Billy looks at it and says, “Your finger?”  Funny line….but Curly says, “No, but you have to figure out what it is.”  It is the thing that drives us to excellence…and the thing that can drive you crazy if you miss it. My oldest brother died at the age of 32.  His last words were, “What a wasted life.”  Pretty tragic, isn’t it?  It does not have to be that way.

We all are born with that deep question of “Why are we here?”  What is our purpose?  Who am I?  Some of us try to find ourselves in our work.  Some of us try to find ourselves in our play time (sports, fishing, hunting, travel, etc).  Some of us try to find ourselves in someone else.

The funny thing is, God created just one YOU.  Even if you have an identical twin, you are still YOU.  You are unique.  You were created on purpose, for a purpose.  God wants you to be YOU. Why do so many people have a hard time just knowing who they are?  I think the problem is that people are looking for the answer in all the wrong places.  There is actually a simple answer, and Curly was pointing in the right direction for the answer.  I will give you a clue.  It is not all about YOU.  It is not all about ME.  It is not all about anyone or anything else here on earth.

For some people, they think their purpose is to be a great parent, a great teacher, a great business leader, a great athlete, a great whatever.  But isn’t there more to life than that?  Have you ever won a top award and thought to yourself, “Is that all there is?”  I have.

The one thing, if you ask me, is to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  If we get that right, then life makes sense.  We have purpose.  We have direction.  We have meaning to all the craziness that life can throw at us.  We may not understand it all, but our faith sustains us through it all.

If we know Jesus, we have a compass that gives us the True North direction, not just relying on the map and trying to navigate our way through life on our own (as Dr.Tony Baron, author and lecturer put it).  We have to find our True North. Giving God all that we are and all that we have, then following Him and letting Him lead us…to me, that makes sense.

Who we are is not defined by what we do. But, if you know who you are, you will fulfill your God given destiny in your work.  How cool is that?

If I can instill hope in a hopeless world, then I think my life will have been worth the journey.  I think that is what God has called all of us to do in our own way….with our own unique talents, with our own unique footprint, our own unique voice.  We are to be the light-bearers in the darkness.

So if you were sitting in the saddle, talking with Curly, and he asked you, what is YOUR one thing?  What would YOU say?


Dan Skognes

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