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Will You Be Willy Loman or Willy Wonka?

DanWhat will you be in 10 years? How will you define yourself? How will your kids or neighbors define you? When you meet people at a party, the first thing they ask oftentimes is “…and what do you do?”

How will you answer that question?

If you are a Marketing Manager, is your goal 5 years from now to have the word ‘senior’ in front of your title, and another $20,000 added to your salary? Will that satisfy you?

In a November blog post, I asked this question:

“Will You Be Willy Loman or Willy Wonka?”

And this is how I framed it:

“These are decisions that don’t come in a dramatic movie-like fashion, but in small ways, in small moments, every day. There is no immediate reward for those who seek the more difficult path to shape the future, rather than walk the path that others have forged. Yes, it is safer to move ahead once the market has been created, best practices established and rewards guaranteed – but does that create the legacy you are looking for?”

And what I am really asking is: will you be a cog, or will you redefine the machine? Will you expand the world, or will you be another stone in the road slowing others down?

I’ve been asking myself these questions. My wife and I expect our first child in August, and I’ve been asking myself: who do I want his or her father to be?

Nobody looks in the mirror and expects to see Willy Loman staring back. Likely, we don’t expect Willy Wonka to stare back either. We expect something in between. Something middle of the road, something expected, something that neither offends nor bores. And I would bet you anything that Willy Loman didn’t see Willy Loman when he looked in the mirror. He saw an essential and respected member of society, doing right by everyone.

The future happens one day at a time. How are you creating that future? How are you learning, growing, helping? How are you doing that today?

I’ve been asking myself that question.

So I’m creating We Grow Media. I’m creating it to push myself forward by helping others grow through learning new skills, creating incredible content, meaningful connections and a chance to realize their dreams.

In four months, a child arrives in my life and will change everything. That child will challenge and inspire. He or she will require every resource I can conjure up, and then some.

But that child will also look up at me, and eventually ask: “… and what do you do?”

And right now, I am working on that answer. Are you?

-Dan