I was inspired to write this post by a good friend of mine who reminded me they look for something inspirational to read or watch every evening before calling it a night. This post is for you. Wherever you are and whenever you are reading this. You matter.

This isn't like my normal posts and it's certainly far more personal than my usual. Read it anyways. I don’t know what you are busy working on. I don’t know what makes you tick or what motivates you to do the things you do. Your life and your choices are your own based on your life experiences and your connections with others. One thing I do know. I know you matter. I’ve spoken on this topic numerous times at various conferences. In fact I just recently offered the closing keynote for an event in Bulgaria where I shared this very idea. Each of you matter. You are special. You have talents and abilities unique to you. No one else who has ever lived or will ever live again has the same set of opportunities to change this world like you do.

Your opinion matters.

I’ve heard a quote which says if two people agreed on everything then one of them is not need. I believe we can expand this to more than just two people. I believe in communities you will never fail to find differences of opinions. Some of you have loud voice and like to share your opinions with everyone listening (and everyone not listening); others have a soft voice and your opinion has to be practically dragged from you. And of course there are others who are in the middle somewhere. All of you have an opinion that matters. Don’t be afraid to share it. If you are in the first group I mentioned- don’t be afraid to listen. We don’t all have to agree. The goal is not to make everyone agree with us. The goal is to communicate and grow. Here's a quote by a good friend of mine...I think it speaks volumes.

Loud voices silence whispers.— betweenbrain (@betweenbrain) October 13, 2014

Your work matters.

We all have different skills. I could never do some of the things my friends do. I’m amazed at the abilities of others and the things they are capable of. Call it a gift, call it a talent, call it a skill. Whatever you call it. It matters. Your work and what you spend your time doing matters. This is especially true in an open source community. When we’re all working together as volunteers we are contributing our talents to a greater good. We are working together to make something amazing. Just as no one else has your opinion no one else has the same opportunity to do things that you do. Your skills, your talents can do great things and the work you do matters. If you haven’t read my previous post about open source appreciation I suggest you do so now. Because your work matters. And I thank you for it.

Your life matters.

Last point before I leave you. Your life matters. I mean your real life. Not your social profile. What you do and how you choose to spend your time matters. Do so wisely. Don’t lose sight of what is truly important to you. Stop and think about your time and your life. Are you happy with how your days are spent? Are you enjoying your life? Your life matters. Not only to yourself but to others. Your family, your friends, your workplace, your volunteer communities. There are dozens of places where you make a difference. Be sure you’re happy with yourself. Do those things that make you happy and make your life matter.

So as you finish reading I want to thank you. Thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to connect with me. Each of you that has said gone out of your way to speak with me, to shake my hand, or offer a hug in friendship. Thank you. You matter to me and I wish nothing but the best for you.

Remember, we’re all in this together.