Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Clarence, the Angel

I’m always amazed by the timing of life: learning the tragic news of Mark Madoff’s suicide and the annual showing of my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

I have no idea what Mark was thinking in those final moments or days of his life. Just that he obviously didn’t see a way of escape from his problems. I can’t help but wonder how many others feel the same way, especially at holiday time.

December is a big month for layoffs. I know from first-hand experience losing your job right before the holidays can put a damper on your Christmas cheer.

Add to that, many are still facing long-term unemployment and have become discouraged to the point of giving up. Financial pressure is one of many kinds of pressure that drive people to the brink of suicide. When hope is lost, despair sets in.

It’s easy to get caught up in tunnel thinking and lose perspective. It’s also easy to fall for the lie that “self worth = performance plus the opinions of others,” as Christian author Robert S. McGee describes in his book, “The Search for Significance.”  Are you falling for this lie too?

Yes, you are paid for tasks you perform. You perform for a paycheck, not your value as a person. Salaries are set by the value of problems you solve for employers and vary depending a many factors.

But all is equal when it comes to your value as a person. The same thing can be said about the numbers in your bank account. You’re not defined by your net financial worth.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. – Sir Winston Churchill

It’s super critical to transform your thinking! A shift in perspective opens the door to solutions. This is beautifully presented in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” – the story of a man who fell for this lie.

George Bailey is so distraught about the possible failure of the Savings and Loan that he is ready to jump off a bridge.  Thankfully, George is led to see what his true value is.  His thinking is literally transformed in one night! Here’s another truth, anyone’s can.

In the story, the various hats that George wore in his life flash in front of him.  He is a son, a brother, a husband, father, friend and businessman.  In his quiet moment of reflection, he is given a gift – knowing how much space he’s taken up in the lives of others.

Still further, he sees the impact, on those he loves most, when his space never exists.  Have you considered how much space you take up in your life and others?

Instantly, George has an Aha moment. He sees his value as a person!  George sees truth. He is more than his job description or his bank account. Loosing one hat is not a show-stopper after all. He has a wonderful life. Can it be true?  YES. He has value simply because he lives. So do you.

His confidence restored, he has all the courage he needs to get back in the game of life and take action in his business affairs. Yet, the magic of renewed thinking continues to unfold.

As George sheds his feelings of failure and hopelessness, he is now able to see and receive the support and resources available to him.  No, he is not alone.  Neither are you.

His friends and family, those he shares his space with, are quick to be by his side. They were there all along.  He just didn’t see them while lost in his feelings of failure and hopelessness.  Do you need your own Aha moment?

Fight feelings of failure. Fight feelings of despair. Make this a priority! Reach out to people around you and remind yourself that loosing one of your hats is just that and nothing more.  Don’t give up on your search, getting your career back on track, or boosting your bank account.

Transform your thinking with the truth and watch your own magic happen. Never give up – it is such a wonderful life!

All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.

Pa Bailey
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Expect good things and they will come.