August 24th, 2019
Don’t let them take your light.
Two weekends ago, I was at a convention and met a lot of awesome people. I met a couple who were incredibly nice and they were really interested in what I do. One of them gave me a call a week ago and was very complimentary. He was really impressed with what I was doing and loved my passion and enthusiasm. He wanted to meet up and talk about a business opportunity.
I know what you’re thinking: “No, Dennis, no.” I was skeptical, too, but here’s a secret about me: if you compliment me, I will literally do anything you ask me to.
So we met up this morning. But that isn’t really what this post is about. It’s actually more about how the same kind of thing happened to me when I was right out of high school.
See, another gentleman had come into my work and was impressed with me. He asked me to grab coffee, and then proceeded to try to sell me on a blatant pyramid scheme. He didn’t waste any time, and I could see that he wanted my light. And in that moment, I was scared: I felt inadequate, I felt stupid and I just wanted to please the people around me. I didn’t ask any questions and I didn’t get any answers. I left the meeting with my light a little dimmer.
And for a long time, I let my light fade away, slowly, daily.
I think a lot of people assume that’s what being a grown up is. Facing the harsh shadows of the world and gaining that jaded wisdom. Losing that light.
Except it’s not.
And this is where it gets good.
I asked all the questions today. We actually had a nice conversation, and he is a nice guy. But I had to tell him where the passion he saw came from.
It came from me finally believing in myself. I have fought tooth and nail to get to this point in my life — to be this alive — and the things I do now, the person that I get to be now: I believe in THAT. I believe in that more than anything else in the universe.
If you’ve been around me at all over the last few years, you’ve seen it. You know it’s real. The light and the passion and the excitement I have now is real and I couldn’t fake it if I tried.
I don’t even know if I could translate it. And it for sure is not for sale. If you’ve ever gotten it from me, I gave it to you because I thought you deserved it, too.
Whenever I hear people complaining about other people they work with, I usually hear something along the lines of, “Well, it’s going to be like that wherever you go.” I spend a lot of time trying to make that untrue. If I can go to work and make someone’s day as opposed to ruining it, then I get to be proof that it is not like that everywhere. That it’s not like that here. If someone still rolls their eyes when I walk through the door, then I still have some work to do. And hopefully, if you end up somewhere else where someone is treating you terribly, you’ll remember that you worked with me and know: it is not going to be like that everywhere.
Growing up is not about losing that light. Getting old is. Getting bitter and cold and dark is what bitter, cold and dark people tell you, because misery loves company. And misery loves taking your light.
So, I don’t think I got a new job today. But I had a nice conversation, a cup of coffee and a reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I want to go.
And if you still have that light — even just a little of it — hold onto it, share it and watch it grow.
But don’t let anyone take it.