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Give the World What You’ve Got

I wrote The Wolf That Wins because I realized that there is no particular accomplishment or attainment that qualifies me to share my stories.  I wrote it because I realized that, as a human being doing the best I can, I have something important to offer, stories that are universally human and that might help someone when they’ve lost their way or are having a hard time finding their own heroic humanity.  I wrote it because I’m both unqualified and inherently qualified, just like all of us.

I noticed something happening in my early 50s—the drive to connect with and help other people by sharing my stories.  This instinct wasn’t there in my 30s.  It wasn’t there in my 40s.  I assumed this feeling just came with time; its development was part of my life’s trajectory.  This drive led me to start having coffee at least a couple times each week with as many people as I could.  I felt so fulfilled by these experiences.  The encounters I had where I felt I was delivering a positive message to someone fulfilled me like nothing else did.  Powerful, tremendous conversations always flowed back and forth at those meetings.  I’d tell people in my office as I started my day, “I’ve had a great day already.” I wondered how I could extend this feeling past my simple coffee chats. So, I asked myself and a dear friend, “How can I have coffee with more people?”  A day or two later, I had a call with a couple people to learn about writing a book, which was never anything I had ever dreamed of doing.  From that call, I felt I had my answer:  I would write a book full of the kinds of stories I was sharing with other people during our meetings so that I could “have coffee” with more people.    

A buddy of mine asked me, “Is this one of those books of how to achieve or accomplish a lot?”  I laughed, because that’s the exact opposite of what I wanted to create!  These books and stories of “You too can be a millionaire like me (at the age of 30)” or “My Story of the Start Up That Changed the World” really piss me off.  I hate that algorithm, those so-called “ingredients for success” that are in every book and on every podcast.  The implication always is “If you don’t measure up in an overwhelming way, then don’t stand up.”  If you weren’t a famous war fighter, a billionaire, someone who feeds millions of hungry people or created world changing technology, then stay in your seat.  

When I go to my local supermarket and interact with a select few employees (at the deli counter and at the cash register), they always exude happiness and kindness.  They are engaging and loving, every single time.  When I go to a local train station, the energy of the guy who scans the carry-ons lights up the entire room… every single time!  I don’t know if anyone knows these people.  I don’t think they’re rich or famous.  Yet, they touch so many people in powerful ways.  They seem to have none of the conventional qualifications to stand up and deliver life changing words.  Still, they seem to do just that every time I encounter them!  They inspired me and made me understand we’re all qualified!  We all owe it to ourselves and each other to give the world what we’ve got.  

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