Tag Archives: impact

Step 2: Who’s behind the mask?

The great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote….

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

We all wear masks, we all have different faces we put on…..we all have parts of us we hide. However there comes a point where under the mask we have to find a common ground, that common ground is our character.

In the prior post, Superhero Chronicles: Step 1, we discussed who we believed ourselves to be. Now it’s time to take a look at this list and ask ourselves, is that who we WANT to be.

Masks are powerful, because masks enable us to hide. But the truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

The truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

Did you catch that? I’ll say it again a little differently. Making an impact on the world isn’t about choosing a powerful career, or partnering with an influential organization, it’s about becoming a person capable of massive impact. It’s about becoming a person of character worthy to wear the mask of a hero and make the type of lasting impact they would.

We often think that if we find the right opportunity then we will be able to achieve our goals. If we find the right job, if we find the right people, if we find the right network…..strangely enough that never works long term. It would be like if our military men went to war but had zero tactical training prior to combat. Or if policemen went out on the streets to keep the peace but had no idea how to resolve conflict. Or if a doctor went to operate on a patient but had no idea how the body functioned and what did what and just started to cut things open!

These ideas sound insane. No one would do that! And if they tried we would all look at them as if they had lost their mind!

Yet, this is often times exactly how we choose to try to make a difference. We get an idea of what we want to accomplish, we make ourselves look good on paper (get a degree, find the right connections) and we look for our next big break.

We search for the opportunity for impact before becoming the type of person who can handle it.

And I’m not going to say that the motivation behind this is inherently bad, I’m just saying it’s not an expression of someone who is 100% worthy of the mask of a hero.

Personally, I’d rather become the person who gives character to the mask rather than allow the mask to make up for my lack of character. Wearing a mask may enable me to win a battle but my character will determine if I win the war. My character is what makes me sustainable. My character is what withstands storms and overcomes obstacles. My character is what determines if I am strong enough when no one else was. My character determines if the impact I make will last. And is that not the ultimate goal?

You see, the mask doesn’t make my character….My character makes the mask. And if I want lasting impact, if I want to build something huge that matters, then it starts with who’s behind the mask. If I’m not who the mask portrays……then I’m going to eventually fail to live up to the ideal of who I’ve said I was. And let’s be frank, I’m going to avoid failure at all costs.

Step 2: Take a look at the list you wrote from the prior post and cross out any words that you don’t want to be a representation of your character. 

Feel free to post your thoughts below or send me a tweet to chat more.

 

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Impact and Fulfillment.

I had a revelation about 7 months ago. This revelation changed my entire life. I can truly say that I always thought I had a good picture of who I was. ….I thought. Sure, I went through my teenage identity crisis and hit another little spell in my early 20’s finding out who “me” was, however recently what I found was entirely unexpected…this revelation was different.

It all came about when I started to notice that my life was cycling…..like a roundabout, and in circles and circles I was starting to go. No joke, I know we’ve all had these moments where we start to feel like we’ve been here before. I’ve come to learn that these are things I need to pay attention to, because if I’ve been here before I clearly didn’t learn the first time. As of about three months ago I was about to start this round about for the 4th time…

I found myself ready AGAIN to readjust my life because I felt unsatisfied.

Now if you know me, you know that I have zero qualms with change, I actually enjoy it. I’ve moved 16 times, have a fairly extensive resume, and love to travel. In short, I hate monotony. However, there comes a point where you realize that even change won’t solve the problem. The problem wasn’t monotony, the problem wasn’t the job, the problem wasn’t the apartment, the problem was my choices.

I kept trying to build my life on the idea of what it SHOULD look like.

I started to look at my life for the past several years and realized there was a definite pattern, it looked like this:

Step 1: Find something to conquer. Often times this was in the form of career endeavors. After I decided on what to conquer I would make sure I excelled at whatever it was whether it was educational goals, sports or work life.

Step 2: Prove to myself I could conquer it. Truth is, if I didn’t have something to conquer I would get bored, so I would always take up a good chance to conquer. Why not right? If I knew I would make sure I pushed myself until I won, why not play a game I’ll win at. So at this point I would just fight and push and fight some more until my goal was within reach.

Step 3: Right before I reached my ultimate goal, I would walk away. Typically up until this moment I was so caught up in excelling that I wouldn’t realize I didn’t want what I was fighting for anyways. So as I started to see my goal, as it became attainable and as I could “see” myself at the top, I realized I never wanted to go there…..BOOM. That’s where I would walk away.

Step 4: Find something else to conquer. Seeing the pattern?

It took me cycling before I realized this is what I did and in order to break the pattern I had to find what I really wanted to conquer FOR ME. Not because it looked good, sounded right or read great on a resume. What would make me come alive? This was my mission.

I can honestly say, I have started to find it and it has been the most beautiful beginning.

I found that the two most important parts of my heart are IMPACT and FULFILLMENT.

Impact on the lives of those around me, and fulfillment for my heart in doing and living everything I am passionate about.

This revelation caused another massive shift in my life but for once it was in the direction of me, not just something else to win.

So I challenge you. What are you waking up for every day, a good resume, a good promotion, a good reputation, is it for you or is it something that you were told SHOULD be for you? Are you seeing a pattern? Break it. Because no one will have to live in the lack of fulfillment but you.

Caveat. Please know I am not saying that achievements, or career goals are bad, by no means is that the case. (I LOVE achievements, maybe too much.) I’m saying that when we are looking at the story we want to write, we write it best when we can identify with what makes us come alive. DO identify what makes you passionate and fulfilled, and build a life around it if possible. But DON’T build a career, spending your life trying to convince yourself that your career is what makes you passionate if you know it doesn’t.

Time often doesn’t change passion, don’t waste your life trying.