There was a phase where I had stars in my eyes. But it was just a phase. At that age when most kids had big plans to get rich or make a name for themselves, I was studying architecture. Learning about building codes and blueprints eclipsed the desire for a spotlight. So, that title might be a bit of a misnomer. I never really wanted to be famous.
As my dreams became more realistic and mildly tangible, I've held on to some wildly absurd aspirations.
I never wanted to be a rock star.
But I always wanted to have friends who were.
I never wanted to be a filmmaker.
But I always wanted to have friends who made movies.
I never wanted to be an accomplished author.
But I always wanted to have friends who wrote books.
I never wanted to have my artwork in a gallery.
But I've always wanted to see art from my friends displayed.
I never wanted to be President.
But I've always wanted to be friends with one.
I never wanted to be instantly recognizable anywhere in the world.
But I've always wanted to be stopped by strangers because they recognize my friend.
As I've grown older and truly discovered who I am, I've come to recognize that I find more personal satisfaction in helping others be successful than I do in my own personal successes.
And maybe that's just how I measure my success. By helping others take that next step, by helping them reach their goals.
I want to be that guy that reads through the liner notes of a new album or the acknowledgments of a book and find my name among the list of people thanked.
I want to be that guy that helps a struggling bar band find a bigger audience.
I want to be that guy who helps an indie director debut their first film at a festival.
I want to be that guy encouraging a talented storyteller to put their words onto paper so that it may someday be read by millions.
I want to be that guy that finds new venues for the starving artist to showcase their work.
I want to be that guy that helps the amateur turn pro.
And that might make me weird.
A couple of weeks ago, I started watching Long Way Round. At the very beginning of the first episode, Ewan McGregor said "I wasn't driven toward being famous."
Yes! I'm not alone.
McGregor's full monologue: "I like being successful because that's a mark of my work. But I wasn't driven toward being famous. I'm glad that's the case because you can be satisfied with success but I don't think you'll ever be satisfied with fame because you'll never be famous enough."
That makes sense to me. I'm willing to let my involvement in the successes of others be the mark of my work. I'm at that point in my life where that is enough for me, and I can be satisfied with that.