I want to be successful.
I want to be respected.
I want to be financially secure.
But the main goal – the most important quest I’m on – is to be fulfilled. There’s something special and inexplainable about waking up everyday and knowing that you’re truly happy about where you are.
The other day I was listening to an interview with Domonique Foxworth. He’s a former NFL player who, after suffering injury, decided to retire and go onto something else. But that something else was a pretty big deal! He went to Harvard Business School and ultimately became president of the NFLPA for a few years.
In that interview, he discussed how he made the career change and maintained that confidence in a new arena. (if you don’t want to listen, you can read the full transcript)
“Look for fulfillment more than anything”
A simple concept yet one we overlook. Sometimes, we hit a crossroads on the path. We’re left with a this or that. Instead of picking a direction based on what we want, we factor in things like what’s easy or what will make us rich or what will be the envy of those around us. I know I’ve made decisions in the past that had I based on them solely on me, I’d be a different place.
The thing about finding fulfillment and starting a 2nd career is that you have to pick apart what made you happy in an unhappy place. In the interview, Foxworth talked about how he loved the attention and the relevance that comes with being a professional athlete despite losing that love for the game of football. He wanted to take that perk of that part of his life and carry it over into the future. The approach proved to be wise.
There’s so much worry that comes with starting over. I know for me, I’ve always been a person who never not knew what to do. At the same time, I recognized that I plateau’d. By most people’s measure, I was doing okay in life. What they couldn’t see was that I wasn’t happy internally. I didn’t wake up every day excited about life. The great thing is I remembered what that felt like. And I knew I had to get it back.
No matter what you go through, there are positive tidbits and gems you can pull from bad experiences. For example, I moved to Houston with a vision in my head. I was going to grind for a few years, buy a house, marry my girl, and live happily ever after. God has other plans for me obviously. What I pulled from those 2 years of living in Houston is that if something isn’t in God’s plan for you, it won’t happen. Or at least not how you want it to. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still be happy. Fulfillment is a condition that’s relative. So it’s crucial to define what makes you happy and what will sustain that condition regardless of what happens in your life.
I don’t believe that fulfillment ever changes either. Whatever fulfills you now is something that is inherent and unique to you. As is the case with athletes. They get so intoxicated with the attention and notoriety that they don’t know how to go back to just being a regular person. Even if they aren’t in the public eye, they still are doing major things that will give them some level of importance in their community or in the media. For Domonique, he held one of the most powerful positions one can have in a sport. For me, in the professional realm, my fulfillment comes from the ability to turn young mens’ dreams into a tangible reality. I’ve been able to do that. Personally, I’m fulfilled by being able to maintain a level of vulnerability in my relationship while still being viewed as a strong black man. I’m doing that.
What keeps you fulfilled?