I listened to the Tim Ferriss podcast #561 with Rich Roll yesterday, and it sparked a couple of different ideas for me. It was a great listen, and I definitely recommend it. The guest du jour was Rich Roll, now well known as a ultra marathoner, author, staunch vegetarian and podcast host himself. They dove into his backstory which makes his particular life path so interesting. Rich was an alcoholic of varying degrees throughout his adult life until age 40, to the point of losing his spot on the Stanford Swim team in college and this affliction highly affecting his work at a law firm. At age 40, he decided to make some serious changes and eventually ended up as one of the premiere ultra distance runners in the world.
The question of “Who are you Becoming?” was brought up at the very end of the podcast, when host Tim Ferriss asks his usual question of each of his guest, which is: if you could hypothetically put up a billboard in Times Square that millions of people would see, what message would you want it to have? I have heard some very insightful answers to this question at the end of his podcast, and since Rich knew it was coming, he was prepared for it. This is where the title of this blog comes in, as it was Rich’s answer to Tim’s question. I thought it invoked a really good question to ask oneself, and thought I’d expand on this here.
I have asked myself this question throughout my life at the different stages I encountered. As a kid, I moved from the farm outside a small town in Pennsylvania to the big city of Phoenix around age 12. I lost what I thought was my identity as a small town kid and moved to what s now the fifth largest city in the country. I felt small and swallowed up by the vastness of the new world I moved to; I felt like I had some level of understanding of the world back on the farm, but Phoenix was uncharted territory and I was not comfortable for a really long time. When I started to undertake my Pro Racquetball career, I knew what I wanted to become, which was a top 20 player in the world. But I wasn’t sure who I needed to become to achieve that. The path I walked was laid two bricks ahead of me at a time, meaning I did not have the luxury of seeing the whole path mapped out in advance. Rich Roll described his own path in life in this manner, and I thought it was the perfect way to describe this for many of us.
This year I turn 52, and as I continue to move forward in life I find myself asking this same question again. I know what I want to become, which is a Professional Speaker, but whodo I need to become to achieve this is the magic question. I know that I need to embrace what I believe my talents to be, and work on rounding out the other skills that go along with that. I know that I need to recruit help to achieve what I want to achieve, which is something I and everyone else has always done. I need to be brave, take chances, trust the process, and be willing to be uncomfortable often, as this is what walking that path two bricks at a time means. You don’t know where it is going to lead, but you have to have the faith in yourself and your quest that you will arrive at a destination. Notice I said “a destination” not thedestination. I am not truly sure what that entails, but I am willing to grab my nose and jump in, and then figure things out along the way.
So let’s flip this question over to you, who are you becoming? Are you becoming the professional you always wanted to be? Are you becoming a parent? A caretaker of a family member? An entrepreneur? A spouse? There are a myriad of things you can become, and I am encouraging you to look at this objectively and figure out the answer(s) to this question for yourself. Of course we are all more than just one of these things. Because of this, I am pushing hard to become the best version of myself I can be, and then apply this new standard to everything I do. You and I can be more disciplined, more focused, and more patient. We can arrange our daily schedule to get more out of each day, and ensure rest and recovery time as well. I need more time on the water spent fly fishing with my Dad while he still is able to do so. What do you need more of? I need to spend less time worried about work and the things related to that which are out of my control. I want to become a better version of myself, and keep building from there. I wish the same for you.
I am a big believer in manifestation and creating the world you live in to a large degree. I know from my own experiments in this area that I can bring things or people into my life that I need if I focus my thoughts and energy on that one particular thing. It happens for me quite frequently, almost to the tune of I have to be careful what I ask for. I am not sure how exactly I got to this point, but it seems to me that the universe listens when I ask for something, especially when it is for the greater good. Yes, I have tried asking to win the lottery a few times, promising to give some of the money to charity, but that didn’t work. That is largely selfish and apparently doesn’t meet the universe’s criteria of the greater good. Oh well, it was worth a shot, guess I’ll keep my day job. But here is an example of what I am talking about: I am phasing out of my racquetball coaching career, as of the end of March 2022, I will relinquish my Head Coach position for the Arizona State University Racquetball Club. I created a void in my life by leaving something behind, but in the same motion also created room for something else to fill that spot in my life. I am committed to becoming a Professional Speaker, a paid, on stage (or virtual) speaker that is sharing a message with the world. I gain about ten hours a week back into my schedule by retiring as a coach, and I am committed to allocating that time to my speaking pursuits.
Literally this week I was presented with an opportunity I am exploring that is right in line with what I want to do. At least at this point I believe it to be, I have a meeting soon to discuss more details. But as soon as I became “open” to something new, and a made it clear to the Universe (insert God here if that is how you view these things) I was presented with what may very well be the opportunity I need. Despite having loved the past 15 years as a Head Coach, I am ready to move on to new things and new experiences. The life I envision for myself and my wife with me as a Professional Speaker is well defined in my head, including us traveling together to new cities, me doing the talk I was hired for and then us exploring the city for a few days before we travel back home. On the trips she cannot accompany me, I may be scheduling a guided fly fishing trip within a reasonable distance from where I have traveled to. Now THAT would be a hell of a lifestyle; to be paid to do something I love, travel on someone else’s dime, and get to fly fish on a more regular basis because of it, man…I can’t think of much better. If I had won the lottery, this is what I would be doing anyway! That is the life I want.
What do you want? Who do you need to become to get it? Are you taking steps to get there, or are you going through the motions of life like so many of those around you? Only you can enact the changes you need to get to where you want to go. No one can do it for you and no one is going to do it for you either. This lies solely on your shoulders, but I promise you that if you are working towards a better way of life for yourself, you can make it happen. For you to become the person you want to be, or dare I say are meantto be, then you are likely to get there at some point. It is not an easy thing to walk a path that you can only see two steps ahead, but if you polish this skill and trust in yourself to do what is needed, you will get there. I believe in you; if I can do it, so can you.