I woke this morning with a Facebook notification on my phone that I had been tagged in a post by Richard Dixon, a longtime friend. With friends like Richard, you won't need family.
I was humbled and honoured by his comments. "I was listening to this podcast and at the beginning of the conversation, I could not help but think of my friend Devon McGregor", he wrote. "Not about the weight lifting, not about personal training, but about MAKING IT HAPPEN."
"Where we are from, " he continued, "MAKING IT took more than money: It takes a WANT to be something".
The truth is, when you do your life's work, rarely do you look up for even long enough to smell the roses. Smelling coffee is more likely, due to the early start to most days.
Wanting to BE SOMETHING
You know when you're a kid and a teacher asks you what you want to be when you you grow up? I suppose, what they really wanted to know was, did I have any intentions or the motivation to be SOMETHING. Anything. My answer always was: "I want to be EVERYTHING". I was scolded every time I gave that answer. However, no one could give me any good reason why I couldn't live up to that, or anything that I put my mind and skills to.
I once wrote: "When I was a kid growing up in Jamaica or Ottawa, I didn't know that the things that I do with my life today were even possible". Several years ago, a friend corrected me, saying: "You also didn't know what WASN'T possible". Reflecting on it, that's a true statement. According to Richard, I "did it with only that need to be successful."
So, what does Richard think that I've done that made him think of me?
"It's built of risk, knowledge and personality", he said. "You don't run one of the first boutique qyms for over 10 years without some sweat equity. These guys prove that sometimes you have to take the training wheels off and go for yours. Your destiny is truly in your hands", he continued, "when you believe in yourself and (your) ability".
I take great pride in developing the skills to do the things I set my mind to. And, people I know, like Richard also share that trait. However, I'd be dumb, blind, delusional or too narcissistic if I didn't know that there was far more to success than meets the eye. While it's easy to see the obvious, there are many more complexities to the dynamics at work.
SKILL, WORK ETHIC, AMBITION, EGO & MENTORS
I can concede that I was born with many great talents. I can also concede that many of them require very little effort on my part. However, what is difficult for most to see (or, perhaps for me to reveal) is my unrelenting WANT to improve upon the natural gifts. I'm not a complacent person.
Additionally, my ego is big enough that I actually believe I can do exceptional work. I'm passionate about that, committed to it, and take great pride in the sheer force that derives from trying.
However, none of that is enough. Looking to mentors, or having people around us who care enough to say, "let me show you something", is a real gift and opportunity that I enjoy. Coaches, teachers, family, friends, clients - even the baristas at Starbucks - have each taught me plenty throughout my life. I use all of these lessons to my betterment. Truth be told, I become quite disappointed in myself whenever I'm slow to learn lessons. But, I also get over it remarkably quickly.
To Richard and so many others, I'm beyond grateful.