WHAT FULFILLS YOU? Is it far fetched or presumptuous of me to believe that each one of us wants to be the hero of our own life? Perhaps you’ve never examined your life journey in such context, but if not, WHY NOT? Perhaps you think seeing yourself as a “hero” is the ultimate indulgence…the height of self- absorption…the pit of hubris. But avoid outrage for just a moment to consider this: what is fulfillment if not the awareness of oneself as a hero, at least in some sense?
What does fulfillment mean to you when measured in the context of your own existence?
My mother would have put it something like “Scot needs to be adored.”
Perhaps that is all that needs to be said.
My wife said she had never seen me more alive, more involved, more purposeful, more fulfilled than when I was coaching swimming and water polo…and that’s a key part of it too. Because she’s right.
My daughter? Well, she thinks that it is simply the completion of things (any projects, etc.) that fulfills me, regardless of nature, subject or audience.
Coaching. Teaching. The imparting of knowledge. The sharing of skill, the reward of seeing my suggestions/instructions/lessons reach fruition. That’s very much a part of what fulfills me…and although swimming has essentially passed me by, it goes without saying that I have incorporated coaching into everything I do professionally. As a consultant, creative director, group leader and blogger.
Those convinced that people don’t change throughout the course of their life would point to the previous statements and maintain that I was where I should have been when I chose Teaching as a career. They would be right to a very real extent, but the core question here is one of scope.
My first career simply wasn’t enough.
I wanted more. I continue to want more. I want to impact lives on more than just one level.
Leaving a mark. Working with a team as part of a team (most often as the leader) to create something lasting and profound and meaningful… something of value. The coaching function feeds this need to make a difference, to be looked upon with respect and even reverence for what I know and what I provide.
My earliest literary favorites were illustrative of teamwork and groups of heroes (often of the unlikely sort) thrown together and winning against overwhelming odds – most notably OZ books; Tolkien; Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology; E.R.Burroughs, et.al; and, of course, comics. I still read comic books today – a testament to how important these concepts remain in my life.
To this day, my favorite movies are A Thousand Clowns and The Magnificent Seven — one espousing the importance of maintaining self respect and not following the crowd, the other the nobility of team play and sacrifice in the interest of achieving something bigger than oneself. At once complimentary and contradictive, but telling nonetheless.
In a very real and obvious sense, my greatest fulfillment comes from being a hero…from winning (or contributing in an important way to a winning effort). And in being recognized (adored?) for it.
Don’t we all want to be a hero?
Leading. Conducting. Masterminding a plan and managing resources and overseeing contributors to the plan’s completion. Shaping awareness and consciousness to a cause. When people listen, I am fulfilled.
As a writer I often create something from nothing. Meaning and metaphor from commonly unnoticed, underappreciated or everyday things. As a fiction writer, I champion the importance of memory and connection and feelings. In advertising I seek to communicate at least the semblance of truth. I open people’s eyes to value and significance and essential truths. And when the something I create has the effect of changing the way people think or feel or act or react, then I am a hero. I have spoken an ideal that is worth reaching toward – at least in some small way.
I have achieved many goals in my life. I have been many things to many people as a result of my numerous career and life choices. If I refuse to see at least some of my accomplishments and choices and experiences as heroic, then I am truly minimizing myself as a result.
I would postulate that we are all the heroes of our own life…and rightfully so. If nothing else, just believing it is a fulfillment of sorts.