Thank you, Elly.
My Inspiration for Living an Intentional Life  

The Magic Age: 3-Years-Old
My niece, Elly, is 3-years-old and has inspired me in more ways than I ever thought possible. She is fierce and fearless. She is the most confident and self-assured person I know. She has an answer for every question and is unwavering in her responses.

What’s your favorite color?
Pink, duh.

What’s your favorite movie?
Mohana, of course.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A mommy, and Mohana, and Elsa. *Eye roll*

There is this magical age of three-years-old where you honestly don’t care what anyone thinks. You’ve started to see the real world, but you still live in your own world because your ideas are the best –  of course.

Featured image: Halloween 2017, Elly showing off her new Mohana costume. 

Your Inner Fire Truck
The World is Flat is a 600+ page book about globalization.  I don’t necessarily recommend it for leisure reading, but there is one paragraph that I couldn’t get out of my head.

Author Thomas Friedman says:

 “Just think back to when you were a kid and you got your first fire truck or doll or doctor’s kit or astronaut’s helmet, and you told everyone you wanted to be a fireman or fashion model or a doctor or an astronaut when you grew up. That innocent passion for a certain job, without knowing the salary or the working hours or the preparation required, is what you need to get back in touch with. It’s that childlike feeling of, ‘I want to do that because I want to do that – and I don’t have to explain why’ that we all need to rediscover. To put it simply: You need to rediscover your inner fire truck. We all have one, and when you find it, you’ll know it” (315).

Let me tell you, Friedman knows what he’s talking about when it comes to kids. Elly knows exactly what her fire trucks are (yes, there’s more than one), as do most kids. What was that one thing you wanted when you were a kid? What were you obsessed with? Let those questions simmer for a moment. What was (and is) your inner fire truck?


Don’t Let Fear Decide Your Fate
In the international best-selling novel The Alchemist, the main character has journeyed thousands of miles and has faced challenge after challenge when he tells another character his deepest fear: the possibility that he will endlessly struggle without ever achieving his goals.

“‘My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,’ the boy confides…
‘Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself,’ the alchemist replies.”

The scariest part about identifying your fire truck is the fact that there is a real possibility you might not get what you want.

It’s difficult to tell people, “This is what I am going to do” and then to struggle endlessly for it. It’s easier to pretend not to want “it” in the first place.

But, you just have to go for it. Tell yourself it’s all going to be worth it. Surround yourself with people and communities that motivate you. That’s exactly what UpByFive is – a community to encourage you to go after what you want, to support you to do it every single day, and to inspire you to help others along the same journey.


With Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility
The message here isn’t as simple as, “Decide what you want and stop being so afraid of doing it.”  It’s much more than that.

There are billions of people in the world who do not have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. There are billions of people who are undereducated, impoverished, undernourished, imprisoned, and enslaved. I say this not to make anyone feel guilty, but instead to call attention to the overwhelming responsibility that many of us may have.

Author and motivation speaker Adam Smiley Poswolsky says it best in his book, The Quarter Life Breakthrough:

“Being able to choose what you do with your life is an enormous privilege, and it shouldn’t be wasted … those of us fortunate enough to decide what we do [with our lives] should think deeply about what we care about, how we want to use the time we have, and how we can leave this world a little better than we found it” (xxii).

Life is meant to be lived with passion, purpose, and intention. Don’t settle for anything less. Don’t pick what’s safe and easy. The world needs more energy, more creativity, and a lot more kindness.


Call to Action
What if you took all of your energy and focused on what you’re passionate about? How could you change yourself, change the world, and help others?

If you have the privilege to decide what you want to do in life, you have a responsibility – to define what it is you want to do, to get over your fears, and to go after it. Make the world a better place doing exactly what it is you love to do. 

I’m asking you to have the attitude of your know-it-all three-year-old self.

I’m asking you to rediscover your inner fire truck, to be selfish in saying what you want and unwavering as you struggle to achieve it. I’m asking you to be a catalyst for change.

What’s your next idea? What’s your next project? How are you going to help others and impact the world?


This article is a long way (some may say an extremely too long way…) of saying,

Thank you, Elly, for the inspiration. You are so unapologetically yourself, at all times. Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to be a kid and have a fire truck worth fighting for. Thank you for inspiring me to rediscover my passions, to cultivate my skills, and to make the world a better place with all the gifts I’ve been given. To live life intentionally and to make the most of it.

 – – 

Maggie Tarasovitch is a writer and corporate analyst (and a loving aunt to a niece and nephew) currently based in Columbus, OH. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.

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