“I don’t know what my calling is, but I want to be here for a bigger reason. I strive to be like the greatest people who have ever lived.” –Will Smith

Gandhi. Mother Theresa. Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King Jr. William Wallace. Mickey Mouse. Steve Jobs. Robin Williams. Tom Hanks. Hank D. Carolyn O. Kathryn D. Brenda M.

These are some of the greatest people who have ever lived. Some of these names are known worldwide and everyone would agree that they deserve to be on the list of “greatest people who have ever lived.” Others on this list may be highly debated depending on your perspective of what makes a person great. The end of this list are people who I personally believe are the greatest people who have ever lived.

Much of my personal list is built of people who directly impacted my life, even if for the shortest time. Hank D. was my son who never even drew a breath. Carolyn O. was my grandmother and one of the most spiritual people I ever knew. Kathryn D. was the mother-in-law whom I’ve never even met. Brenda M. is my mother, one of the strongest and most courageous people I will ever get to live life with.

Each of these impacted me a different way. My son has taught me to live life and feel pain, but love beyond all hurt. My grandmother taught me to find my spiritual connection and live by it. Kathryn gave me the best man I’ve ever known and she lives on through him and my kids. My Mom shows me daily what it is to forgive, love regardless of another’s actions, and how to stand up and fight when giving up would be easier. My greatest people who have ever lived are completely different than yours but that’s what assures us that we, too, can be on that list for someone else.

What will your impact and legacy be? Will you be known for the millions of lives you changed or the one moment you made someone else a priority? What will make you the greatest person who ever lived? How many lists will you be on and how will you teach others to do the same? Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Robin Williams, Sarah Deats… YOU.

Sarah Deats

Sarah Deats is a Behavioral Health Technician at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer.