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  February 7, 2014
What Matters the Most...



[It’s the first Friday of the month so that means that it’s time again for a guest blog.  

Billie Attaway is an old friend that I met at an Entrepreneur conference 12 years ago. He has a great message this month so I encourage you all to take a moment and give it a read... Jim]


First of all thanks to Jim and Optifuse for the opportunity to participate in his Blog.  I think it is a neat idea to have guest bloggers and to give Jim’s brain cells a chance to recuperate.  

When Jim called me and said "okay Billie you are up in two weeks", my first thought was "oh my God", this is for real. Writers block immediately set in and my mind started sorting the things I could blog about.  

You see at 57 years young this will be my first blog.  Blogging about things that interest me or that I think others would find interesting has always intrigued me, so Jim, thanks again for the opportunity.

A little background, I was born and raised in Orlando to a poor hard-working family, Mickey Mouse (Disney World) chased me out of Orlando and forever changed my home town.   

I’m a serial entrepreneur’ living in Charleston, SC (what a great place to live and raise a family) for the past thirty-seven years.  

In that time, I’ve started, sold or closed six very different businesses in diverse industries such as staffing, telecom, wireless, finance, real estate and manufacturing.

Some of the businesses I started were highly successful and award winning (two of the companies were included on the prestigious Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies) while the others, were those that were closed, represented some of the most painful/best learning opportunities I’ve ever had.

In between businesses I am blessed to be able to travel to many different countries having a chance to observe a variety of cultures and meet a rich diversity of people. 

The last thing I want to share with you is that I am a Cancer survivor... going on eight years now. I know first-hand that life is precious.  

My background is not shared to brag, but to give substance to my ideas and my thoughts.

Since Jim’s readers are a diverse group I have decided to follow his lead and share what I hope many will consider "a pearl of wisdom".  

Yes this is an overused term, but I hope that one or more of these thoughts will resonate with you.

What matters most?

I wear one of those plastic wrist bands similar to the Live Strong wrist bands started by Lance Armstrong, but mine says "What Matters Most? 

This is a constant reminder for me to live my life by what is really important in my life... what matters most.  

For everyone the answer to this is different... however the question still needs to be asked.

What is really truly important in our lives?  

We see and hear things all the time that might give us pause to think about what matters most... like the loss of a child, a critical illness among a loved one or a friend, or perhaps it’s financial problems that face so many people these days...

Many of us will give a trite answer or even lip service to this question as they really don’t want to think about it, because most people don’t like the answer.

I am unsure of the source, but there is an old adage that resonates with me:  "Where you spend your time and your money shows what really matters to you."  

Try it for a few days, track where you spend your money and your time then compare it to what you say really matters to you.

So I pose the question, "What matters most?"

To that question, there are many different responses.

Some of the most common ones are:

A great job
A nice home
Giving back to the community
Great friends
Learning new things
Work that is stimulating and enjoyable
Toys to play with
Having fun

...and finally... health...

Now health isn’t always the most obvious answer... especially in young adults.

As many of us know, the young think that they will stay young and healthy forever. They don’t appear to be overly concerned about their long-term health because they are mostly healthy today.  

Some say that they are, but watch how they spend their time and their money.  

Some consider it morbid, but every day or so I glance through the obituaries.  Every day I see people my age and younger who have passed away.  

For the most part no one expected this to be their last day on earth.  

Those that developed a sudden illness were not expecting the outcome that awaits us all.  

So to this I implore you to "Carpe Diem" ... seize the day... enjoy the day and all that it holds for you.  

Take joy in the simple things, the sunrise, a beautiful day, the wind in your face.  

Today is the day to enjoy what we have because some day we might not be able to enjoy them.

I would appeal to you to heed the age-old cliche "If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything".  

As a person who has been very ill (I received eight different Chemo-Therapy sessions and 42 separate radiation therapies)...

I would challenge you to pay attention to your health.  

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice that we can all make.  

Some of the things that we can do to improve our health include: 

  1. Working smarter, but not necessarily longer or harder.  No one on their deathbed wished they had squeezed a few more hours in at work.
  2. Figure out how to reduce stress. Overwork doesn’t usually cause stress... artificial deadlines cause stress (as well as things that are generally out of our immediate control).
  3. Find time to exercise - if we can’t find the time... we need to make the time! Exercising in hard but the rewards pay off in the end.
  4. Spend quality time with friends and loved ones... not just sitting in the same room ignoring each other... but quality time conversing and doing activities together.
  5. Put more healthy things into our body... more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat meats (fish and poultry)... less starches, sugary foods, red meat, and foods containing trans-fats.
  6. Stop putting unhealthy things into our bodies: Smoking, drugs, excessive amounts of alcohol...

Of course, most people already know these things... but we choose to ignore them... because those choices force us to do something difficult.

So back to my question at the beginning of this blog... "What matters most?"

Once you’ve decided what really matters then you have to do something about it.  

Many people set unrealistic goals or try to do too many things they never end up accomplishing... just like our New Years resolutions.

Now don’t go off all half-cocked as we say in the south and go crazy trying to do all of these things at once.  

Take the top three things... the ones that are most important to you. 

Write them down and decide what you can do easily to start with.  

Starting a new healthy life is just like eating an elephant... just take one bite at a time.

Are you living your life based on what really matters or just giving what really matters lip service?  

I challenge you to live your life based on what is important to you.  

To Jim and the team at Optifuse, thank you for the chance to participate in your blog and I wish you all laughter, joy and happiness.

God bless,





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