Boys to Men

Wow! When I reflect back on this time last year, I realize how much I’ve grown. I’m still the same person morally and ethically but boy oh boy have I changed.

This time last year I decided to leave my great sales job with Pepsi and follow my intuition. I’ll never forget… it was a late Sunday afternoon on a porch overlooking a mountain range towards Lake Tahoe when my life changed. I couldn’t see over the Sierra Nevadas but I could feel His hand guiding me.

First, I started to sense changes in my body. Call me a late bloomer but my body turned 25 years old and I started to cognitively recognize my body was changing. I would be playing basketball and before I would be “boxed out” for a rebound and get pushed around a bit. Now, its like… bring it big daddy, let’s rumble! lol I embraced guarding the big guy’s down low in the paint. Yes, they were bigger than me but my ability to use technique and leverage worked to my advantage.

Next, my spirit was challenged in a really big way. The big guy upstairs wanted to see what I was all about. He tested me. It was the greatest internal conflict that ever reached my inner being. Yet, I came out a better man. I started to recognize the power within and the importance of discipline.

My mind was the next transformative shift. You know… it’s funny. Ever since I was a little kid I hated reading. I despised it with a passion! I knew it was good for me but I wasn’t good at it. I’d read a little bit and than be like “I’m over this!” It was discouraging because I couldn’t comprehend what I read very well. Heck, I was the guy in high school that took all AP classes and I was (I think) the only guy that failed all his cumulative AP college credit exams. Even in College, we had a Seminar course where all we did was “read” a bunch of the best books ever and then have Socratic discussions in class about them. And yes… I was the dude that spark noted them and devoured all those classes with my baloney sandwiches. However, in this past year, I realized how much I wished I would had read those books. I’ve recognized the real purpose of education is understanding. And to those guys who were me, the one’s that thought not reading was cool, let me just say… knowledge is sexy!!

Women. You knew it was coming, bahahaha 🙂 Wow, the boy I was a year ago… let’s just say, becoming a man is freaking awesome! lol So I’ve been reading a lot lately (honestly trying to catch up on the years of knowledge I skimmed through) and wouldn’t you know it… This new gained education of investing in myself has led to a whole new level of confidence when approaching ladies! Just the other day, I was at lunch with a gal (gorgeous btw) and we started talking about “financial literacy” and the daily habits of being successful. Those boyish pick up lines are so over… the way women look at you when you’re in a constant state of learning… let’s just say it’s a whole new level of dopamine excretion.

Finally, I felt a drastic shift in knowing myself. Interestingly enough, I gave a speech at graduation almost 5 years ago about how we are suppose to “find ourselves” in college!? After writing that last sentence, I then reminded myself of something I’ve been challenging myself to live by “it’s not about me, it’s about we.” I’ve started to become aware that the “real me” is pretty cool, that being authentic truly is awesome. For example, I recently went to lunch with another lady friend and had the realest conversation I’ve had in awhile. I was truly myself, out there, vulnerable to all my insecurities and I didn’t care if I was being judged or ashamed of the realities of life. Who would of ‘thunk it’ … our relationship has grown and she reinforced that the real me is more powerful than trying to be someone I’m not. Needless to say, this past year I’ve been so grateful for the new levels of growth I’ve reached but it’s not over yet…

You see… it’s never over! I’ve learned over the past year that sometimes I have to unlearn what I’ve become conditioned to accept as conventional. Finally, the most important thing I’ve come to understand is that life is about feelings. The feelings we get from people, money, experiences; they are the reasons for “why.” And in this past year, I’ve looked deep into my heart and tried to understand my feelings… I’ve come to understand that I have a need in my being to contribute and give to others. I’ve noticed that the feeling of giving is at my core who I am. The feeling I get from giving time, talent, or treasure to others is what makes me happy! I still can’t see over those big Sierra Nevada mountains but I know I’m headed in the right direction. Ultimately, I’m grateful for how much meaning I’ve taken from this summative quote:

“The ultimate significance in life comes not from something external, but from something internal. It comes from a sense of esteem for ourselves, which is not something we can ever get from someone else. People can tell you you’re beautiful, smart, intelligent, the best, or they can tell you that you are the most horrible human being on earth—but what matters is what you think about yourself. Whether or not you believe that deep inside you are continuing to grow and push yourself, to do and give more than was comfortable or you even thought possible. The wealthiest person on earth is one who appreciates.” – Tony Robbins 

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