One of the unexpected outcomes of doing what I do as a speaker is having people share their stories with me. If I had taken the time to process through what I do, likely I would have been able to figure out this might happen.
It is an incredibly humbling experience to have others share their accounts of things that have happened in their lives. Often, these are deeply painful stories that have been brought to the surface when they hear me speak. Often, these stories have been buried and purposely held below the surface in an attempt to drown them away.
Today, I share with you one of those stories.
By all accounts this gentleman has led a fairly successful life as we would often define worldly success. He was about my age, early to mid-sixties. He has been an executive of a non-profit organization for a number of years.
After hearing me speak at an event recently he sent a very candid e-mail. He described the fear he has, in his sixties, of disappointing his father. He remembered a conversation he had with his dad when he was beginning his chosen field after graduating from college. His father, a highly successful businessman, was not pleased with his son’s career choice and let him know in no uncertain terms. “When are you going to get a REAL job,” his father barked at him in obvious disappointment with his son’s path.
The man left his field of passion after that dictate in an effort to please his father. By his own account the man has continued to try to measure up to his father’s desire for him. His father passed away well over thirty years ago, just one year after asking his son when he was going to get a real job. For over three decades he has been running a race with no finish line.
He now hopes to reignite his long repressed passion. That takes courage.
The renowned poet, e. e. cummings once said, “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”
Accounts such as the one you’ve just read are among the most common ones shared with me. People attempting to become something others want them to be. They put aside their desires in an effort to measure up to someone else’s yardstick. In so doing, they lose themselves and who they were created to be.
Are you running a race to nowhere today? Are you fearfully chasing the standard someone else has for you?
Do you have the courage to grow up and become who you really are?
Have a STRONG and COURAGEOUS DAY!