I am always looking for a way to rearrange my worldview, my internal map of reality or at least break it up a little. I recently spent 48 hours in silence, no internet, no talking, no phone, my thoughts, a few good books and me. As has happened before when I ‘returned’ many things I have never seen before that was always there suddenly appear shocking and crystal clear.
My father has always been a great storyteller. He lives on the same ground he grew up on over eighty years ago. A story I have heard before, but heard for the first time yesterday, happened when he was the delivery driver for a farm implement dealer. He was a teacher and elementary principle also and he lived his life in the middle 50’s with youthful fervor.
It was a Saturday and he had eight deliveries to make. The furthest delivery away was the last one placed on the flat bed to be the first one off. The salesman’s note said the dog at the first destination was a mean one and to be cautious. When he pulled into the drive, a huge dog made herself known and she made it clear trespassers were not welcome.
Dad cracked opened the door on the vehicle and let the dog smell him as he climbed out. He waited a moment expecting someone to come and help unload the plough. No one came after a few minutes with the dog so he slid the plough off the flat bed in the yard where he was. He had seven more deliveries to make. After taking the plough off and securing the remainder of the load, he stood petting the ‘mean’ dog waiting for someone to sign for the delivery.
Dad said, “I am somebody. You figured she would have me waiting until you were ready. I have delivered your plough, please sign for the delivery.”
My dad was always somebody to reckon with when I was growing up. He has only gotten older and wiser. Growing up there were very few rules and following them always and instantly was the first one. We moved often. I was the oldest of six and initially a larger house every few years was required. As dad began building his resume, we moved to different towns as his responsibilities expanded. I attended three different grade schools and from seventh to twelfth grade, three different high schools as well.
I learned to be observant and adapt to new situations. Every new neighborhood and town had different opinions, rules and people. Family was the constant. I always had mom and dad, three sisters, two brothers and a dog. I was always as big as the boys two years older were too. My method evolved to observe, fit in and not make waves.
In the seventh grade, we got a basenji puppy. He had white paws, had tricolor brown, black and white makings with a tip of white on his tail saying to call him Tippy. When I wasn’t in school, Tippy was with me almost always. One late morning as we meandered down a country road on a perfect sunny day, a much larger female dog came out to greet us. The back of her neck to her tail was on end, her tail was not wagging and she was not sure if she should bark or growl or both. Basenji’s don’t bark usually and Tippy never backed down. The initial unwelcoming encounter evolved into tails wagging and the usual interests shown between alphas. She was twice the size of Tippy and an unknown multiple mixture of various breeds. We called them Heinz 57’s. She accepted my rubbing between her ears and was happy now to be with us.
Suddenly a young man, early twenties most likely, appeared and declared with a tinge of worry in his voice, “Hey! Who are you? Nobody can pet that dog!!
The two dogs and I stood there calmly as he walked up to us. At 6’2”, I was a little taller than he was. I smiled with a smirk only 13 year olds have and said, “You’re right! I am ‘Nobody’. You have heard of me too it seems. Nobody’s smarter. Nobody’s faster.” For emphasis, I rubbed his dogs ears a little harder as I said, “Nobody can do this.” I paused and smiled saying, “My given name is Michael. What’s yours and what’s your dog’s name?”
He chuckled; called me a smart aleck and we exchanged names and shook hands. He and his dog returned to his yard and Tippy and I continued our day’s journey.
I practiced being both nobody and somebody growing up. Both personas come in handy and both may hide one from the other. I got straight A’s, lettered in three sports from freshman on, participated in all the extracurricular activities available. I avoided winning recognition and it happened anyway. I joined the Navy and continued developing ‘nobody’ and ‘somebody’.
The hidden cultural goal, that every commercial, TV show, movie and news report lives from screams to always climb to the top of the mountain, to be the best at something, to be nobody somebody. When it happened, when my superiors, peers and I knew I was the best in the world and had been for twelve months in a row it hit me. Nothing had changed! Not me in any way, the world looked and felt exactly as it had before. No bells, whistles or alarms sounded. I was the best in the world and so what. The feeling past and for the next eighteen months I repeated the monthly climb. I enjoyed the experience. I was somebody that nobody but a few would ever know about. How did it happen and how did I do it became the puzzle to figure out next.
I began noticing lots and lots of coincidences. The bread crumbs were a solid neon blazing orange line! I listened to “A World that Works for Everyone” and its call to action altered my thinking. The time to reframe, reform and regenerate experience has arrived and I say do it daily!
My most recent trek up the mountain began after finding a company that matched my ideals in July, 2013. I joined in August and earned Diamond qualification my first ninety days. Again, the experience of being a somebody nobody knows. The mountain has no top however!! I know how to do this!
My recent adventure into silence let me see one trouble climbing mountains with tops always means coming down instead of mountains that have no top lets you keep climbing. I enjoy the climb, do you? Imagine all your wildest dreams fulfilled. It is NOT on top of a mountain. Massive impossible dreams blossom and bloom on the way up one with no top!
If nobody can tell you what to do or you want somebody to show you how to climb the mountain, I may be that guy for you. Watch this 17:12 minute video and if you are ready to climb beyond any top you ever imagined, leave your information and make sure we have a conversation before you make any decisions!