“When You Cease to Make a Contribution – You Begin to Die”

How many dead people “show up for work” every morning at your organization? How many dead people show up every morning across America and around the world? They are on the payroll for sure, but you would be hard-pressed to identify an important or significant contribution they have made in the past 3 to 5 years… maybe the past 5 to 10 years… maybe never!

These people “show up,” occupy a space somewhere and go through mostly mindless, repetitive steps doing something that supposedly justifies their total compensation and expense to the organization. They make no sincere and consistent effort to add real value, to find ways to make important, significant contributions above and beyond “just showing up.”

Truth is, these people are far more expensive than just total compensation and out-of-pocket expense to their organization. These people many times suck the priceless vitality and life out of an organization. They take up space that someone else could occupy who would make a real contribution. They influence others to accept and even expect mediocrity. Their influence is anything but positive, uplifting and inspirational.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a United Nations diplomat, humanitarian and wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most widely admired women in the world. To this day she continues to be an inspiration to many people around the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

“When You Cease to Make a Contribution, You Begin to Die.”

This simple, timeless and priceless advice is applicable to each and every one of us.  When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die. When I cease to make a contribution, I begin to die.

Many people will and do spend every dime they have in order to stay alive (keep their heart pumping and remain conscious). Many will try any remedy, travel to the far corners of the earth and consult with almost anyone who claims to have a cure. Yet some of these people died years ago in terms of what is really important… making contributions in all areas of their lives.

Like many bad habits, slacking off and not pushing yourself to maximize your contributions is an easy habit to fall into. Like virtually all habits in our lives, there is basically only one way to make a permanent change… replace a current habit with a better habit. To change a habit without replacing it with another habit is virtually impossible.

Other than “showing up” and going through the motions and what is expected, what important and significant contributions have you made this week? This month? This year?

“When You Cease to Make a Contribution, You Begin to Die.” 

Don’t let it happen to you!


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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