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Peering into the future by way of the past

My participation in the Fort Worth Portrait Project‘s Profiles of Leadership program continues to challenge me to dig deeply into my ongoing leadership journey. And to root through old photos to find gems like this one (I’m the dork on the right holding the poster). Please enjoy:

What is my vision for the future? Can a question can get much bigger than this one?

I wish someone had asked me this at the beginning of each decade of my life. I’d love to know how twenty-year old me would have answered it. And thirty- and forty-year old me. Not to mention when I was ten. If I had to guess, at twenty my answer would have probably had something to do with approval. At thirty, love. At forty, stamina. And at ten, art.

Today’s vision would be impossible without the past. To me, the past delivered — through a combination of benevolence, acerbity and irony — the revelation that I do, in fact, possess enough stamina, love and self-worth to tackle the absolute ambiguity of the future.

Now that I’ve taken my career-slash-life in a more creative direction, I see unlimited possibilities. Every project is mine alone to take up or pass by; every endeavor to envision and to render; every partnership an unlimited opportunity for good will.

Still, this optimism (if that’s what you call it) alone can only get you so far. What gets you the rest of the way is focus. Therefore, because my life and my career are in sync, I’m completely focused on learning, on doing, on collaborating, and on growing creatively.

Unlimited possibilities combined with laser focus: that is my vision for the future. This vision, with persistence, will yield a very specific outcome, and it’s something that I can see with crystal clarity for the first time in my life. I can see it in my head and my heart and sometimes, it’s so tangible I can even feel it in my arms and hands.

Someday, when I’m old and grey, chilling out in a rocking chair and talking about my life, the story will begin with, “It took me awhile, but I finally became an artist.”

Click here to learn more about the Fort Worth Portrait Project’s Profiles of Leadership program — and see my monthly musings about leadership that accompany each portrait. 

This story was originally published on April 27, 2017.