What I want to be when I grow up

So last week I was on vacation and I realized there are two types of people:

  1. The person that takes a drink from the fridge.
  2. The person that takes a drink from the fridge and restocks it with one or more.

The first enjoys their cold drink while someone else gets stuck with a warm one, the second enjoys a cold drink alongside a friend who enjoys a cold drink too. The first leaves things worse off, the second leaves things as good or better as they were before. The first is a taker, the second is at least a giver as much as they are a taker.

When I was little I wanted to be a professional soccer player. And if I would have worked hard enough, I probably could have been. After I slacked off for a couple of years in high school and realized I didn’t want it bad enough to work that hard, I wanted to be a doctor. That lasted five minutes. Five minutes of a Biology class that led to the realization that memorization wasn’t my forte. As I started college I thought I wanted to be a politician. This lasted at least a solid ten minutes. I couldn’t convince myself that I could do it without selling out on certain core values I had decided to live my life by. Not that all politicians sell out, I just didn’t think I could do it. As I grew up and smartened a bit, I realized that I didn’t know what I wanted to be but I was sure of a few things:

  • I wanted to do something that would make me happy everyday.
  • I wanted to make the people around me happy everyday.
  • I wanted to choose the people I work with.
  • I wanted to be really good at whatever it was I did.

This ultimately led to starting a couple of businesses. All of which is a long story that has a place in a different blog entry, but not this one. Recently, I gave some thought to my previous aspirations and I found a trend. The trend that follows suit in being a professional athlete, a doctor, a politician, or running my own business is that I wanted to do something extraordinary. And very recently I figured out why – I want to be the person that leaves things better than they were before. I want to the kind of person that truly has a positive impact on every person, event, or project I touch.

A few weeks ago I had an ex-girlfriend give me the biggest compliment I could ever receive. She said, “Brian, I want you to know that dating you made me a better person”. I was speechless…And I was addicted. I want to do that to everyone now.

Here is the challenging part and where the extraordinary comes in. I want to do this on a large scale. I want my circle of influence to be huge. So huge that I can positively effect the masses. I don’t want to run a fortune 500 company to be rich, I want it so I can influence everyone attached to the company.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have been given a lot in life – great parents, great family, great friends, a level head, ridiculous good looks : ) And because I have been given so much, I feel compelled to live up to an extremely high level of potential. Anything short of being on the cover of Time magazine before I’m 30, President of the U.S. by 40, and winning a Nobel prize by 50 – and I feel I am simply not reaching my potential. Most of the time I am aware this isn’t the type of success I am striving for, but still I feel obligated to do something amazing. And that something amazing I hope to achieve, as abstract as it might sound, is to expand my circle of influence and positively effect every single person or thing within it. Basically, when I grow up I want to the be the person that takes a drink from the fridge and restocks it with one or more.