How to create a life of meaning

We asked five alumni leading meaningful lives for their advice to people looking to make an impact. Here’s what they told us.

Set goals 
Storm Ziegler ’94: Take the time to establish goals for yourself and to develop plans to reach those goals. Providing a focus for your life and your work makes you more efficient and productive. Then take the time to celebrate your wins.

Develop skills
Paige Brevick ’13: Begin by developing skills related to your interests and passions. This will prepare you to navigate challenges and contribute meaningfully to the causes you care about. And never forget to simply ask others what you can do to help. Sometimes making an impact is as simple as connecting others to needed resources and opportunities.

Brett Janis ’14: I always remember that I am one of many people working toward these goals and I try to work with others whenever I can, whether that means working on collaborative projects or learning from people who have worked toward these goals in the past.

Eddie Moore Jr. ’89: Let your haters be your motivators. One sign you’re doing good work ‘for the people’ will be resistance from more people. There are some pancakes you’ll never flip over. Don’t give up, but know that there are some folks who may never change. Don’t spend most of your energy on the most resistant people.

Be brave
Cindy Frisbie Hecklau ’73: Open your eyes—see what’s out there. Don’t be afraid to fail—you will learn from your mistakes. I did! Challenge yourself and be brave.

See the full feature on Cornellians leading lives of meaning.