I was driving across the San Mateo Bridge a while back to preview a new listing in San Francisco. The San Mateo Bridge is one of our most beautiful bridges to drive across. Not because of the aesthetics of the bridge, we have the Golden Gate and new span of the Bay Bridge for that. I love the San Mateo bridge because of the view as you drive across. You are close to the water with the Bay stretching out endlessly on either side. As I was enjoying the sun glinting on the water, I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s book #AskGaryVee on Audible. Those of you who receive my newsletter in the mail know, that was one of my favorite books this year. I got to a part towards the end of the book where Gary is talking about Self Awareness and answering a question of what makes him so self aware.
For me self awareness is an understanding of your own limitations and your own gifts. Do you know, really know, what you are good at? What do you suck at? Gary often suggests that if you are very brave and really want to know the answer to this question. Ask the 5 or 6 people closest to you to give you feedback about yourself. The good, the bad, and the ugly. He mentions you will absolutely need to prep your friends and family that you really do want the truth and you will not get mad at their answers. That you really want the truth even if it’s hard to hear.
Well I’m not sure if I am that brave! I did however, do a similar exercise in a group training where I got some unfiltered feedback about myself. The question we would ask each other was “How do I show up to you?”
We were coached that feedback isn’t good or bad it is simply information, like a blip on a screen, and you can choose whether you believe it or not. If you believe it, you get to decide whether it is something you want to keep or change about yourself. A very powerful exercise for sure.
Gary goes on to say in his book that he often thinks about his own funeral. What will people say about him? As a boss, a friend, a husband, a father? As I’m listening to this I look up at this giant digital billboard on the San Mateo Bridge. It’s got an advertisement up for AT&T, but suddenly the entire screen turned purple. Now at the time of this story, it was just after Prince died. I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of Prince.
The screen turns purple and Prince’s symbol is in the center in white. That’s all. No words, no nothing. It stayed on the screen until I passed the billboard. I had to stop my audio book for a minute. The strength of what Gary was saying, plus me happening past that billboard at that moment struck me hard. How will you be remembered? What sort of impact will you leave on the people that care about you? Somehow, I doubt Prince lived his life being fearful or not taking chance.
I am not a famous person and probably never will be, so I don’t expect any billboards. But I couldn’t help but think about how expensive it is (I’m a marketer, what can I say) to run that ad for that long. That the owner of the billboard was moved enough to give up that much money just to put up his memorial to an artist he loved.
I put my audio book back on. Gary goes on to say that he wants to know how many people showed up at his funeral. He want’s to make the kind of difference in people’s lives that someone he helped once, back when they were a kid, would still drop everything to fly to his funeral decades later.
I have my own version of that vision. Not quite as intense. For me, I use it to make smaller decisions in my life. I have a fear of regrets.
As far back as I can remember, when I am trying to decide if I should go for something, take a chance or not, I have this vision of myself. I picture myself on the porch of my house, far into the future. For some reason in my vision I’m in the country, on an old fashioned porch, looking out over a field of grass like something out of Forrest Gump. I’m an old woman and I’m sitting in a rocking chair. I imagine myself rocking back and forth and reminiscing on my life.
Whatever decision I’m considering in the current moment, I imagine reflecting on the decision. The big question is: When I’m an old lady in my rocking chair, will I regret that I didn’t go for it? I want to make a lasting Impact. Will I regret not finding out what happened if had gone for it? If the answer is yes, I will regret it, then I have my answer. I know whatever it is, I HAVE to go for it. I pictured the rocking chair when I met Mike for the first time. I pictured that rocking chair when I questioned continuing my Real Estate Career. My fear of regret is always bigger than my fear of going after that one thing in front of me that really matters.