How do you measure success?

I pulled up to the drive-through window at MacDonald’s, credit card in hand. My internal “eating healthy” dialogue had been compromised. Salad might be a healthy choice, but not when covered in fried chicken and ranch dressing.

Much to my surprise, the nice young woman at the register informed me that my bill had already been taken care of by the driver of the car in front of me. “Thank you,” I replied. “I’ll pay for the person behind me. Let’s see if we can keep this going.”

As a Freemason, my instinctual reaction to a random act of kindness is to “pay it forward.” My hope is that others following me did the same that day, though if the string was broken I pray it was by someone in need of a free meal.

Success is an Opportunity to Serve Others

“Being successful doesn’t necessarily make you great. What makes you great is when you reach back and help somebody else become great.” – Joel Osteen

As a young man in my late teens and early twenties I spent some time homeless on the streets of Boston. Addiction to drugs and alcohol nearly took me out. God’s grace, twelve steps, and a lot of hard work helped me to turn my life around.

It didn’t happen overnight, but material success has come to me over time. Today I live quite comfortably, but I never forget where I came from or a piece of good advice I received from a sponsor. “You can’t keep what you have if you don’t give it away.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you take all your worldly wealth and give it to the homeless. That was not the intent of what my sponsor was telling me. I donate to causes, give to my church, and support my lodge, but I also own cool electronic toys, take my wife and kids on vacations, and buy nice cars. It’s okay to enjoy life.

Giving “it” away refers to the knowledge and experience I have gained. Call it sponsorship, mentoring, or simply good advice. To me, giving this “gift” to those in need is the key to success. If I’m not helping others, what’s the point of it all?

From Hiram’s Edge to H.E.L.P. for Young Readers

As many of you already know, Hiram’s Edge recently formed a partnership with Think Tank Academics in Fitchburg to create a non-profit called H.E.L.P. for Young Readers (Hiram’s Edge Literacy Project, Inc). H.E.L.P. is a good example of a successful marketing campaign leading to a much-needed community service project.

Rather than write the story of how it happened, I’ve incorporated a lesson into this article – “How to Create a Video using Powerpoint.” The steps I took to make this video are below. Watch the finished product first.


How to Create a Video Using Powerpoint

I can almost hear the collective groaning when I use the “P” word, but Powerpoint is perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way to make a video. You’re essentially creating a presentation and then adding background music or dialogue.

Step One is to create your Powerpoint presentation. Most of us in the marketing world know how to do this because it was, and still is in many companies, the way that sales and marketing presentations are made.

For those of you who have not created a Powerpoint before, watch the Beginners Guide to Powerpoint before you read on. It’s a 23 minute video on PPT basics.

Adding Sound to Your Presentation

The Hiram’s Edge video above was created for submission to the Golden Gavel Committee and I wanted to do something different with it. Rather than recording voice-over to all slides, I inserted background music. Here’s how you do that:

  1. On the Insert tab, select Audio, and then Audio on My PC. 
  2. In the file explorer, locate the music file you want to use and then select Insert.
  3. With the audio icon selected on the slide, on the Playback tab, select Play in Background.

The song I selected for my video was “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. I recently watched a movie about the making of the song and I was deeply moved by it. To hear the song with lyrics Click Here

If you’d prefer to add voice-over to your presentation, watch the video below:

One thought on “How do you measure success?

  1. I think this amazing way to inform fellow Masons connecting the Elders and the Apprenticeship. I may not be a mason even though I feel it’s in my soul. I hope it’s ok for me to share this with my father whom is a Master Mason.

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