• When: 12/27/18
  • QIC: T-Bone

“Who don’t you want to be?”

That’s not a question you’re used to hearing.  In fact, it’s likely the opposite.  How many times have we each heard the question as children and teenagers “What do you want to be when you grow up?” from a parent, a teacher, or a friend?  The response is typically related to a career path, “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to be a teacher” or otherwise tied to some lofty and likely unattainable goal “I want to be independently wealthy” or “I want to be an actor.”  As children and teenagers, we encourage our children to think big and dream big, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But, I have a different question for you…”Who don’t you want to be?”

My question is born out of the One Word journey.  The author states that “Resolutions…are built on a flawed foundation of more effort, willpower and goal setting.  We set to-do goals instead of to-be goals.”  So, the natural question we ask is “Who do I want to be?” We can each throw out a personalized list of who we want to be…honest, friendly, generous, giving, supportive, compassionate, faithful, and the list goes on.  Those are all worthy qualities and character traits.  And once we have one of those words, that quickly comes to mind, isn’t it relatively easy to mold it into a One Word that might stretch us a little, but not too far, not enough that we are even slightly uncomfortable with our word.  There’s nothing wrong with the question or the responses, but I contend that we should ask ourselves a different, more provocative question….“Who don’t I want to be?” I believe this question causes a man to reflect further, dig deeper, and open himself up to greater possibilities.

My father worked as a tool and die maker for Ford Motor Company for 30+ years, in the Chicago Heights stamping plant.  He machined huge dies that form hoods, roofs and trunks.  The plant was HOT.  And, probably like many of our fathers, he worked hard and as much overtime as possible in order to provide for his family.  My Dad had a few friends from work (a.k.a. the “work buddy”).  Most of his life, and his identity, was based on his job.  He didn’t really have any friends after he retired. I relocated my parents from the Chicago-land area, where they had each been born and raised, to Greenville about 7 years ago.   They bought a house about 4 doors from my family and it was a blessing to have them nearby.  My mother got involved in the church and other community activities, but my father chose not to go out much or do much outside of the immediate family.  My mother passed away in 2015.  My father chose not to really grieve or cope with her death at that time, even though my wife and I encouraged him to do so.  3-1/2 years later, he still hasn’t come to terms with it, simply because he isn’t going to talk about feelings or emotions.  While I respect his decision, I know that it comes at a price and it’s a very lonely place for him.  He was formally diagnosed with dementia just over a year ago, although in hindsight, we suspect he’s had symptoms for the past 4-5 years.  And, while it’s never too late for a man to change, the combination of stubbornness, growing up in a generation that didn’t talk about feelings and emotions, and the progression of dementia create a combination, that statistically, aren’t in his favor for change.

So “Who don’t I want to be?”

  • I don’t want to be a man whose identity is based solely on his career
  • I don’t want to be a man who, when times get tough in my life, don’t have someone to turn to
  • I don’t want to be a man who is uncomfortable, or feels like he’s a burden on his family

By determining “who don’t I want to be,” my One Word for 2019 came to me.  DISCIPLINE.  Discipline doesn’t mean just getting up early and posting at an AO.  It means having the discipline to LISTEN when others are talking. It means having the discipline to RESPECT differing viewpoints.  It means having discipline to BUILD and NURTURE solid relationships.  It means having the discipline to SERVE others and put them before myself.  It’s impossible for me to list all of the ways I can apply DISCIPLINE in my life.  You get the point?

The power of One Word, of the right One Word, is that it will infiltrate your life.  It will transform you.  You may not know where you’re going.  You may not know “who do I want to be?”  But, you’ll be moving away from “who don’t I want to be?”  That, my friends, can be extremely empowering!

So, my question, and challenge, to each of you is…”Who don’t you want to be?”

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