The Meaning of Life or Have You Identified Your Indelible Mark?

While it is normal for people to be concerned with the here and now, how much time do we really spend reflecting on the enduring mark we want to leave in the sands of time?

For example, in the Middle Ages artisans left their mark to uniquely identify them as the creator of their work, a practice that interestingly enough, is from where the word “character” comes.

Even though our character and mark or brand are one in the same and therefore worthy of consideration because it goes to the heart of our life’s purpose or mission, an even more interesting consideration centers on if we even have the courage to ask the question in the first place?

Of course in reality it is not perhaps the questions themselves that are scary, but the answers including what they tell us about ourselves and our present beliefs and paths.  Or in the spirit about being true to yourself, a personal brand above all else requires that you present your authentic self to the world.  This is often reflected in the manner in which your service or product is perceived and received by the world.

What is your imprint in the sand?

Being true to your brand may also mean positioning yourself under the radar screen or even going against the grain of popular sentiments, at least for a time, as reflected in the fable of the old man and the star fish . . . although some versions refer to a little girl rather than an old man, the sentiments are still the same.

For those unfamiliar with the fable, one day an old man was walking along the beach and noticed that hundreds of star fish being washed up on shore.  Once out of the water the star fish would soon die under the hot sun, so the old man began picking one up and throwing it back into the sea – a seemingly endless exercise that was repeated over and over and over again.

A little boy passing by stopped to ask the old man why he was throwing the star fish back into the sea because it could not possibly make a difference as the waves were washing up as many as he threw back, to which the old man replied: “It may not make a difference overall but, to this one star fish in my hand, it will make all the difference in the world.”

Tying it back into our brand, the old man was being true to his mission at that moment by throwing the star fish back into the sea.  While the boy did not immediately recognize the value in the here and now, the old man’s character or brand symbolized both integrity of purpose and a strong sense of service to others.  These are two attributes that when recognized will throw open the doors to even greater opportunities as they are much sought after character traits that are always and forever in demand.

So have you identified your indelible mark?  How does it link with what you are doing in the here and now to where you want to be in the future?



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Author and Host of the PI Window on The World Show on Blog Talk Radio.

7 responses to “The Meaning of Life or Have You Identified Your Indelible Mark?”

  1. aharrell2000 says :

    Love the article Roz!

    I also believe: “Mentorship”….is the new “LEADERSHIP”
    You can never be too busy to mentor a child…it just takes a small amount of time to make a “BIG DIFFERENCE”.

  2. Richonda Pelzer says :


    As always, great insight. As a leader, integrity and assisting others are paramount. The shear definition of servitude is a bit harder for me to include in my personal mission statement. Additionally, we should not investment more in the careers of others if they are not willing to invest in themselves.

  3. Jennifer says :

    This blog hits me at a time I am about to send my oldest son off to college. I am going through a transitional time in my life. I am getting back into the working world after spending the last fifteen years raising my two boys. I sometimes wonder what mark I will leave in this world. Some people make big splashes and change the world like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. I have become content on being a good wife, friend and a good role model for my children. I thought years ago I left my mark in this life by being documented in a book when I was nominated as a Who’s Who amount college students. The book will be filed in the library of congress. But now the Internet came along and we are all documented online for years to come. I hope I leave a good Mark!!

  4. Bob Shiley says :

    Thanks for yet another remarkable essay, Roz, and for introducing me to the story of the old man and the star fish, which I don’t remember ever hearing before.

    My philosophy of life came at a very young age from an unexpected source, Dr. Seuss. One of his lesser known books is entitled “Horton Hatches the Egg.” If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest that you do. The key phrase for me was Horton’s continuing comment saying, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful 100%.” And that’s the way I try to go about my business–being a straight shooter who follows through on his word. Like the old man, make a difference in my own small way.

  5. AP says :

    Nice brief summary to remind us of what are the over arching elements in our lives that have the most relevance. I haven’t precisely put my finger on my Indelible Mark just yet, however I am definitely on the journey to best ascertain what it may just be.

  6. Susan Aldridge says :

    “It may not make a difference overall but, to this one star fish in my hand, it will make all the difference in the world.”

    Roz this piece is so heartwarming, deep and moving. It played on a special part of “me” that seems to have been overlooked somewhat lately.

    I particularly loved this part “integrity of purpose and a strong sense of service to others. These are two attributes that when recognized will throw open the doors to even greater opportunities as they are much sought after character traits that are always and forever in demand”.

    AMEN Girlfriend.

    Thank you so much.


  7. Denise Hughes says :

    Thank you for your note. I have been working on specific projects and stockpiling blogs, etc., to read so only just got to your note.

    In my business my image is my brand — and my companies image is very important for my brand recognition — just as your image is your brand, so your article resonates well with me.

    While I am older now and not as much in the public eye, my staff and I endeavour to always maintain a professional image for clients who visit and, especially, when meeting with clients in either the informal setting of our own meeting rooms or on the floor of an industry conference. We don’t necessarily go with the current fashion trends — maybe I did a few decades ago but that’s a distant memory — rather, we try to project the image of what we are: an honest, hard-working company that will do it’s best to help our clients do their best for their clients. Clean, simple, straight-forward. Not exactly trendy but time-honoured.

    Well done, as always, Roz.

    Onward and upward ~


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