“I’m the only one I know that makes $600K and has $1M in the bank and I’m still miserable!”

I was awakened by my 15 year old daughter in order to take her to her high school debate tournament. She is bright, beautiful, bold, and driven. Of course, I’m not biased. I’m just her Dad! Driving away from the high school, I told myself “She is just awesome!” Then, I reflected back on what a gentleman told me several weeks ago.

“I’m the only one I know that makes $600K and has $1M in the bank and I’m still miserable!”

I think we all grapple with the superficial trappings of success, our own mortality and our purpose for being here on earth. Of course, I said to myself “Well, that’s a good problem to have, I’ll take that any day!”

Well, maybe not..Mark Twain summed it up nicely.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I imagine each of us already has an idea of why we are here on earth, but fail to take action because of societal pressures, lack of resources and fear.

Societal Pressures

From the “Terrible Twos” until we exit this life, we will be peppered with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What do you do?” In your toddler voice, you reply “I want to be a “fia-fight-turer!” You receive praise from your parents and those around you. Secretly, you know that you’re destined to be 100 times greater than Justin Bieber only if you could get your pants to sag a little lower, but your pull-ups are getting in the way!

Fast forward 40 years and that same toddler is now a “successful” attorney who regularly consumes $800 bottles of wine with clients at the swankiest restaurants.

However, he longs for the time when he was a 14 year old camp counselor eating graham crackers with 4 year olds negotiating whether the group was going to play “Duck, Duck, Goose!” or “Freeze Tag” after lunch. Nevertheless, he keeps slogging along because people would give him the side-eye if he told them that he had enough.

Lack of Resources

Let’s face it. It often takes resources to pursue your purpose and we all have obligations to support our family and friends. So, what do you do, Dr. Settles? I would submit that if you have truly found your calling or purpose in life; those resources will manifest themselves in ways that you can never imagine. However, it is essential that you put your purpose in motion.

Of course, everyone wants a self-help guide or someone to spell it out for them. Although they had the best intentions in mind — your parents, teachers, and friends spelled it out for you at 2 years old. Do you really want to go down that path again? I believe all of us are “clued-in” on our purpose and know what is keeping us from pursuing it. The four letter word called fear has stopped many of us in our tracks from taking action.

I Ain’t Scared

“Yes, you are!” “No, I’m Not!” All of us probably have experienced this playground banter as we’ve grown up. Fear is a normal emotion that we all experience and has served as an efficient behavior modification tool even though it fails to have a physical form. Fear of walking countless hours in full parade regalia in the Central Area at West Point as punishment for failing to make it to morning formation is one example. It forced me to consider whether the extra 10 minutes of sleep was worth the 4 hours of walking tours in the snow and sleet! However, fear stops us from reaching our full potential. Fear makes us complacent which ultimately leads to regret later in life. Regret is eternal…a time, a moment or an idea that you can never reclaim. So, I encourage you to take the long view and move closer to your purpose for “being” each day.

Well, as I wrap up this impromptu rant, I think of my daughter and how she’s in the midst of “killing it” at her debate tournament right now. I wonder if in the back of her mind, she’s that 2 year old toddler who just wants to be her authentic self without all the outside forces of this world influencing her at every pass. No, I don’t want her and the Biebs to go on a world tour together! My hope is for her to seek and pursue her purpose in spite of the challenging circumstances that will force her to make difficult decisions throughout her life.

It’s never too late…Will you do the same?