What Really Matters? Seeking the right goals and encouraging those around you

(4-week series)


By: Lori Hudson Bertrand DC, RN

Hopefully this week you have been able to take a step back and evaluate what’s most important to you and are now ready to seek to achieve those goals that truly matter most.  The goals that matter most to us, those that we strive to achieve each day can stem from personality traits.  These basic dimensions –  Openness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Extraversion/Introversion and Agreeableness – are labeled as the “Big Five” traits.

After last week, do you think you know your personality type? Of the “Big Five” predispositions, which ones did you associate more with? While there are many traits that make up your personality, do you feel that it’s the same now as it was 10 years ago? You might be quick to answer no to this question, but the truth is, for most, our core personality doesn’t change much once we hit about 30 years of age.  Knowing our own personality traits and those around you can better equip us to encourage others.  Realizing that someone is conscientiousness and agreeable, outlines their personality.  While this allows us to understand them better, it doesn’t really tell us about the specifics of their life.  If your goals fall under the less materialistic category of, for example, encourager, motivator, better friend, etc. – take note!  In order to better understand those around us we need to take the time and ask about their lives.

Developmentalist Dan McAdams has been investigating personality through the adult years.  In many cases, after listening to individual’s stories, life’s struggles, as well as highs and lows, the portrait of who they are today versus who they were before these life-changing events is drastically different.  This research has shown that for most your core personality or “Big Five” predispositions stay relatively consistent throughout life, unless you experience a life-changing event.  Things such as a severe car accident, divorce, unemployment, or in my case, a loss of a loved one can all cause a personality shift.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was nearly 6 months pregnant with my first child when I suddenly lost my late husband.  Our lives can change in an instant, and this I know first hand.  There are many details leading up to that day, 3 years ago, that seemingly prepared me for the journey through brokenness, sorrow and grief.  Looking back, I can see how I have continued to be carried and provided for by our Creator, loved ones, friends and even strangers.  While bereavement is almost unbearable, those that have and continue to support my family have impacted me more than they will ever know.  In one way, a part of me died the day my late husband passed, but in another way, a part of me was born.  In a blink of an eye, I instantly became a widow. Prior to that day, I moved through life in a rush –  never really knowing how to sit still.  Countless times, my late husband asked me just to sit next to him –  to sit and be still.  While I did this on occasion, there always seemed to be something, laundry, cleaning, paperwork, etc. that needed to be done.  Now I see what truly matters – people. When we take the time to listen, relate, and understand details of the lives around us, we get a sense of what helped shape them into the people they are today.  By taking time for others, we begin to make a difference in the world we live in.  By knowing others better, we can communicate, encourage, and motivate more effectively.  Think about it – will the things that we devote our time to now be important 10, 20 years from now?  For me, I want my time to be invested wisely in those things that have purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.  Of course I felt like I knew these things to be important before, but now, it takes on a whole new meaning.  I believe this is true for so many that experience life-changing events.

Everyone has a story, a journey and a path that they have traveled.  In order to better encourage those around us, seek to dig deeper and take time to get to know those around you. In many cases, the paths that people take can be in response to life-changing events. Once rich details and human experiences are shared, lives are transformed.

Often times our conversations stay at service level and revolve around, work, family and hobbies.  When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation, one that seemed to change the way you view things? Have you seen how someone’s personality traits have shifted because of a life-changing event in his or her life? Or can you relate to this first hand? My challenge to you this week is to focus on those goals that matter most to you, take time to listen to those around you and make a difference in this world. Begin to encourage others more effectively by taking time to hear their story.

If you have been inspired to think differently or have a life story you want to share, please do so!  We would love to hear from you!

**Information about the “Big Five” personality traits used in this post is found in Janet Belsky, Experiencing the Lifespan, (New York: Worth, 2007), 366-375.



Lori_frontblogImageDEFINE’s senior instructor and anatomy specialist, Lori Hudson Bertrand D.C., R.N. is a doctor in chiropractic and registered nurse. Her love for helping people through education about anatomy and physiology drives her to continue to share her experiences and knowledge with others as they pursue their journey towards health and restoration!