Listening on the Inside

Based on a true story…

He was a success. Co-workers and business colleagues looked at him in wonder and with an occasional twinge of envy. What they didn’t realize is that on the inside Steve was not smiling. In fact, every morning when his alarm went off, he had to force himself to get up to face another day.

It was becoming increasingly difficult to put on his “game face” and continue the facade. What was going on here? He was the poster child for success! Why didn’t he feel good about it?

After years of diligent work, his bank account and 401k were second-to-none. His stock was in great shape. His financial planner was thrilled and a bit overawed by Steve’s portfolio and accomplishments.

As Steve sat behind his desk, with the panorama of the City behind him, he sighed. Truth be told, he dreaded coming to work. He rubbed his temples, where a headache was beginning to throb and asked himself again, “What is going on here?”

Actually, he already knew the answer.

Steve longed to do something different. When he allowed his mind to drift and dream, his thoughts were never about another big deal. No. What Steve really wanted was to…

Just then, the heavy door of his office opened and his best buddy from high school walked in, radiating optimism. Steve stood up and shook his hand.

“Great to see you, Dave,” he said. “Have a seat.”

Dave laughed. “No, no, I don’t think so, Steve. I can’t sit down right now…I’m too stoked. I have something to tell you.”

Leaning against his desk, Steve caught the energy emanating from his friend. “Ok. Tell me. I don’t have another meeting for,” he looked at his phone, “eight minutes.”

Dave leaned forward. “I finally built up the nerve to do what I want – no, what I am meant to do, Steve. I have taken another job. I’m leaving my practice.”

Steve was stunned. He could only mutter, “Whaaat?”

“You heard me,” Dave told him. “I have looked at my last briefing! I have taken a job as a Ranger. Lisa and I are moving to Colorado in a month. I am going to be a Guide. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was an Eagle Scout.”

“But your firm…?”

“I’m selling it. I already have an offer.” Dave walked to the windows and motioned toward the cityscape. “See all this? It doesn’t really mean a thing…” He turned, looking serious. “A few months ago, when I went to the doctor they gave me a scare. I vowed if I had the chance, I would pursue something that means something.”

Steve began to pace. “I understand…oh, not about the doctor bit,” he confided. “Dave, I really have no interest in any of this,” he waved his hand in the direction of his desk. “What I really want, what is always in the back of my mind is to…” there was a brief pause, “teach.”

Dave raised his eyebrows slightly and gave a low whistle. “And?”

Answering him, Steve said, “And I’m not sure how to get there.”

Dave chuckled and cuffed him on the shoulder. “This from the man who has built countless successful strategies for others – of course you know!” Dave grabbed the notepad that was partially covered by a series of data printouts. “Here, let me give you a launching point. It’s a simple assessment that will validate everything you already know about yourself. Steve, you don’t’ really fit here.”

Looking at the time, Steve knew he should leave to go to his next meeting. “Dave, what is this?” It was a web link scribbled on the page.”

Smiling, Dave answered. “It’s the key, Steve. It’s an assessment that will show you where you do fit. In all my years, I’ve never seen anything so accurate. Lisa couldn’t believe it. She said she wished she had the results when we first got married!” His laugh filled the room.
Suddenly, Steve felt a great weight lift. He would do it! He would invest in himself. He would take the assessment and find out where it would lead. Life, after all was always ready to provide possibilities. Now was his time.