I stumble into Panera Bread with my overstuffed briefcase, balancing an Iced Tea in one hand and trying to secure a table with an electric plug with the other. Suddenly, an older woman at the next table breaks my focused zone, “Are you rich?” she asks me. Thinking, she must be speaking to someone else, I try to ignore her. Louder she asks, “Excuse me sir, Sir! Are you rich?” I look at her, huh? …. “Well, it depends,” I tell her, “How would you define rich?” She looks at me cross-eyed, squinting as if puzzled by me. Then she bursts out laughing. “I’m here to meet a guy named Rich and I thought you might be him!! I guess it does matter how you define rich, doesn’t it??”
We both laughed, and to tell the truth, I was pretty sure that’s what she meant, but it was a pretty direct question, wouldn’t you say. “Are you rich?” Or was that “Are you Rich?”
Last night in the Butera (supermarket) parking lot I was approached by two guys who quickly exited their black SUV and headed towards me….. “Hey you! Excuse me.. yeah you? ” I had nowhere to go. “Did I see you on ESPN?” “Excuse me?” I asked. “Yeah, you’re that announcer on ESPN! We watched the fight you announced the other night! You’re awesome!!” “No, sorry, that’s not me.” “Come on that’s you!” one of them insisted. “No, it’s really not…” It took me a practical argument to convince these two I was me and not someone else!
So within 12 hours, people challenge my identity. “Who am I really?” “Am I rich?” “Am I a known celebrity?”
I loved fellow blogger Mike Wilson’s comment on my recent blog post on Facing My Facebook Status Envy when he responded, “A key to contentment for me then is hope and advancement down my own path.Probably, that is why it is so important for us to “run our race . . . fixing our eyes on the prize”–our prize.”
Really, any dream-step forward DOES start with an acceptance of who we are and our ”running our race.” And “being rich” as us. No need to prove anything to anyone else.
I am rich! (even if I’m not Rich!) I have so much more than most people on this planet and am amazingly rich in relationships and in meaningful work. And I’m OK with it! I’m Jeff. Yes I may not be as known as the ESPN announcer who must look like me… but I do have some folks who know me and even love me.
Being rich and being fully me doesn’t start “someday.” It’s who I am today.