The Dash

CroyleWith the gift of another year, let’s strive to be better.

by John Croyle


As we close out 2014, I want you to think about something. If you could choose how to spend the rest of your life on this earth, how would you spend it? Would you want a life of success or of significance?

Every one of us desires to have a life of success—not only with our families, but also with our career and with life in general. But the question of significance has to be dealt with. Do you want to be remembered as a great businessperson or the best mate, parent, or person that anyone has ever known?

Have you ever noticed that as we get older, we begin to filter away what is unnecessary and to focus on what is really important? If you can think back to what was really important to you when you were a teenager, it is most likely very different from what is important to you today. If you knew you only had one year left to live on earth, how would you live it? Are there things right now in your life you know you would cut out because you know they’re not important? Think for a moment about what is most important to you at this time in your life and imagine you’ve only got 365 days to continue on that path of either focused importance or useless insignificance.

For me personally, if I only had one year left I would continue living as I am now because I know as I finish up this time on earth, the next 365 days are the finish to my life. I know that I cannot change one thing good or bad in my past. Yes, we all have regrets but the best plan is to move on, move forward, and move up!

You and I have no say-so in regards to the day we were born or the day we will die. But we are accountable for how we lay out the years in between—represented by the “dash” on our tombstones. I tell folks all the time that we have four options on how we live our lives: spend, waste, hoard, or invest. Far too many of us get wrapped up with spending, wasting, or hoarding. Yet the only thing that has real and eternal significance is when we invest our lives in others, starting with our own families.

One thing I feel certain of is that if you only had one year left to live, you would not be bogged down with spending, wasting, or hoarding. You would be investing your life into your spouse, your children, your family, and your friends. When you stop and think about it, our time on earth is a dash when we look at the big picture. It is brief, and the older we get, the faster time flies. Do you remember being a teenager sitting in class in high school when the time dragged by? Now that we are adults at different stages in our lives, I’m sure you will agree that time is flying by. Each year gets faster than the one before it.

I was talking with my wife, Tee, just the other day about how it seems like we just put away all of the Christmas decorations. Now, we are getting ready to drag all of the boxes back out and do it all over again. Don’t get me wrong. We love Christmas, but it just seems like a flash of weeks and we’re doing it over. Almost everyone I talk to feels the same way.

If I could share one last thing with you, it would be a list of seven things that hang on a placard in my office. They pretty much sum up what I hope we invest in our families for this upcoming year.  It reads:


In Our House we…

do second chances

say prayers

do I’m sorrys

do loud really well

do hugs

do love



These truly are the bedrocks of a great family. If they are true of your family, then you are investing wisely. This focus will yield tremendous fruit in 2015. It’s never too late to get that dash right. Would you join me and let’s be better? Better parents. Better spouses. Better employees. Better people! It’s your choice—Choose wisely!

Leave a Reply