In his book Principles, Ray Dalio talks a lot about his belief that evolution is the single greatest force in the universe. He writes, “evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.” And that our goal should be to maximize our own personal evolution as we strive, fail, learn, adapt and grow.
Along those same lines, I was listening to an interview the other day with Simon Sinek — heralded author of the books: Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last.
On the topic of finding ways to identify and verbalize Your Why, the host asked Sinek . . . as a young kid, what did he want to be when he grew up?
“I wanted to be an astronaut,” he answered immediately.
“This actually happened to me one time,” He said, “From a stage, someone asked what I wanted to be and I said an astronaut. Then they asked Why? And I’d never actually thought about it. The answer I gave was that I wanted to go out into space, I wanted to see the world from a perspective that others don’t get to see if from and then come back and talk about the magic that I saw.”
Now, clearly, for Sinek, that dream did not (or has not yet) become a reality. But what he said next caught me by surprise..
He continued, “I’ve realized that is exactly what I do. I see the world from a different perspective and I share with people the perspective that I see, so that they can see the magic in people and the world around them. I want to take them on the journey with me … So it dawned on me that though I never went to space, I am absolutely and astronaut.”
Damn, he’s got a pretty good point.
Those who’ve read his books, watched his TED talks or heard him speak, know that Simon does in fact have a unique and powerful view on the world. And he’s made it his life’s mission to share it with others.
So, of course, you know me, this got the wheels turning.
Hmm, what about me? My Why?
I’d never stopped to think about it that way. I was in the gym at the time. In the middle of a workout. And so, I wandered over to a corner and pulled out my phone and hammered away at the keys.
As a young boy, I wanted to be a professional baseball player because … I wanted to emulate those that I say on TV, particularly my idol, George Brett, Number 5 for the Kansas City Royals.
As a teenager, I wanted to be a professional baseball player because … I wanted to have a platform to influence and impact others. See, by that time I’d read autobiographies of guys like Brett, Nolan Ryan, Brett Butler, Derek Jeter and others. I wanted my life and my career to be “book worthy.”
As a collegian, (particularly after blowing out my elbow) I wanted to be a professional baseball player because … I wanted to be the “comeback story” that could inspire others about what is possible when you don’t give up on your dream. And to be completely honest with you, I thought that was the ‘reason’ why I got injured. Funny how we rationalize things in real-time.
In my mid-twenties, I shifted my focus to becoming successful real estate agent because … I thought doing so would set me up to follow in the footsteps of the real estate investors and house flippers that I saw on TV shows.
By my late-twenties, I realized how challenging it was to actually build a real estate business and so I decided I wanted to become a Broker because … I wanted to be able to mentor and help put others on the path to success.
And now, almost a decade later, my vision has shifted once more. If you missed last week’s email, I wrote about my new mission and the purpose behind it. As we expand in all directions — with Three Pillars, Voices of Impact and other local initiatives — the focus is almost exclusively on developing meaningful relationships. And sharing great stories.
Because looking back on it, the goal is and always was to influence and impact others. To spread a positive message and encourage others to pursue a better version of themselves.
It’s funny how these things almost come full circle, isn’t it?
Though I may not have made it as a professional baseball player, I am absolutely on the path I intended when I was fourteen years old.
In many respects, I‘ve been afforded the same opportunity. A similar platform, albeit in a completely alternate universe than I ever anticipated.
Then again, I suppose that is the redeeming power of personal evolution . . .
Especially one that is backed by Why.
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