This famous quote by Mark Twain hits the nail on the head. So many people wander through life without ever discovering their real purpose. Lots of people never really give it a thought either.
Some will feel satisfied being a parent, others will pursue an athletic career and find satisfaction in that. I did the latter, the former was not for me. I am very proud of my pro athlete days, but I by no means think that was the height of my existence. I was hitting a ball against a wall…not exactly setting the world on fire or changing lives by any stretch of the imagination. By where it lead was the important part of the equation.
Through teaching racquetball lessons I learned that I am a teacher at heart. The most personally rewarding thing I have ever done has been to coach the Arizona State University Racquetball team. The group of kids I have gotten to be associated with during the 14 years and counting I have been doing this has taught me as much as I ever taught them. I have learned humility, kindness, and many other human attributes I had managed to box up and hide away for a huge chunk of my life. I learned to push others forward and be happy hiding in the shadows, not something I was very accomplished at previously. I learned to impart knowledge and wisdom that applies far beyond the confines of the court. Now I want to do this on a larger scale through the venue of Public Speaking.
I finally found out why I was born.
I will forever be curious as to why it took so long for this to come to fruition. I can only assume I was not ready until recently to take the turn down this path. In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever had something I enjoy as much as coaching and helping others, and to get paid to do so would be an amazing thing for sure! I am convinced this is what I was born for. And I do think I was previously not ready for the heavy responsibility this can bring with it. Intellectually, I know that I do not want to be famous. My ego still toys with that idea, but there are so many downsides to it, that an occasional free dinner here and there when (if) someone recognizes you just ain’t worth it. I don’t need my picture on the wall of my favorite restaurant to feel validated.
What I want to is have an impact on people’s lives, to share a nugget of info that leads to a breakthrough or a change in behavior that sets someone on the path they were meant to be on. One of the best qualities a coach can have is to make everyone else recognize how great THEY could be. The goal of the coach is to raise the “game” of everyone they work with; while this is easier on a long term approach like coaching an athlete for several years, I do believe that the right words at the right time can still have a big impact. I want to be that voice for change, for growth.
But enough about me…what do YOU want to do, to be, to become? Have you figured it out yet? Don’t feel rushed, I am about to turn 51 and I just now figured it out. As I said above, I wasn’t ready until now, so now is the time. If you can figure it out earlier in life, I think that would be to your advantage. Even if you can’t really walk that path just yet, I do think knowing what you should do with your life is key. The sooner you know, the sooner you can work towards that goal and prepare accordingly. For some things, it may take a lifetime of experience before you are ready, for other endeavors, it could be something you pivot into right now and never look back. Only you will know…
I’ll leave you with this thought involving one of the people I have always admired: Andre Agassi. He was a Pro Tennis Player with a very colorful history to say the least. His autobiography “Open” was fantastic, and I highly recommend it. His rollercoaster of a career included rising to number 1 in the world, having a litany of personal issues that caused him to fall to a world rank of #141, then a subsequent climb back to number 1. Amazing stuff. Dr. Jim Loehr, renowned sports psychologist, recounts how Agassi hated tennis for most of his career, but learned to love it once it was almost taken from him. But what tennis did for him was to uncover his real passion, his real reason for being here on Earth: to help others. Tennis gave him the means to serve the community he lives in, and have a huge impact on future generations. He has started a school in Las Vegas where he lives that serves K-12 grade under- privileged kids, raising over $60 million to serve his community. Despite all of his successes on the court, this appears to absolutely to be his calling, his reason…his why.
Go find yours. If you do, your life will be much richer and fuller than you ever could have imagined.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.