We spend so much of our younger years looking for ourselves and, sometimes, pretending we have found that elusive conceptualization. I have talked about this a lot with people I have met this past month. It's not unusual when you think about it. We often spend so much time afraid of who we are, who we might be, that we try to craft personas that fir the world around us and make it easy. We fool ourselves into jobs we hate, we take life paths that we are lackluster about, we avoid adventures we are dying to go on all because we wonder who we are. It's a quest for an answer that we all have for ourselves, an no one else does. We are all searching for our truth.
"If you live your truth, you are the most powerful person in the room."
Lennrd Fly reached out to me after reading another connection piece from someone he knows. They say there are six degrees of separation between any two people, and seemingly only one in Charleston. He was excited and loved the project, he jumped in feet first. How do you not love enthusiasm?
Lennrd Fly is authentic, and he is wise. There is no doubting he is who he is. He joined the Army just shy of 18, went off to Germany, and left after four years. It wasn't for him. He worked through other jobs, with a long stint in car sales, then found his way to financial services. We both have that industry in common, and we both worked for large corporations in the field. He immediately knew he loved it, he felt a sense of purpose, a calling. Lennrd tells me that's what you have when you are doing what you are passionate about, a calling. He loved the field, he was good at it, he just didn't love the big companies, so he eventually went on his own.
He knew how he wanted to do his job, and he knew he couldn't do it there.
We swap these stories in the late afternoon, at a craft beer bar, The Barrel, on the marshes leading to Folly Beach. It's a place that feels a bit like Germany, a place we both spent time in while serving, but on a stretch of road leading to the Atlantic. It is one of the many mystical backdrops in Charleston, a place populated by people and their stories. We tell stories of the industry, of our former corporate cultures, of the military and of life in general. We take the time, we part the curtain, we were friends when we pulled into the gravel parking lot.
Can it really be that easy?
Sure. Lennrd and I are both authentic. We are ourselves, with no apologies and no polish. You can probably size both of us up in a matter of moments. You'll either like us, or you won't. Thing is, we both know life is too short to worry about it.
Lennrd and I value stories. A human being is not a balance sheet or a list of assets. Everyone has a story. Everyone has millions of stories, all valuable, because they are all a glimpse at that person. We talk about stories, about truth, about fear. Both of us live lives with as little fear as possible, we live our truths. For Lennrd, that is hearing the stories of people and helping them, consulting and providing insight. For me it is listening and gathering the stories, taking the time to meet and get to know someone, to do it in the most basic and genuine way possible.
It took both of us time to find our truth, make no mistake. We stumbled and fell, we doubted and wondered. We both did damage to ourselves and damage to others, life is not something that passes by without scars. Both of us have our truth. We both want to change our part of the world, though he knows more how he will do it than I do. I wonder how many beers we sipped, before meeting, shaded just a bit by doubt, in ourselves or the course of our lives. Does it matter? We drank these in the sun, by the marsh, knowing exactly who we are, why we are here, what our dream is.
Do we really need to count the steps it took to get here?
Whether we were the most powerful people at The Barrel doesn't matter. I don't really care. All I know is that we drank, laughed and shared our truths. With the summer coming to an end, I can think of few ways to better spend it.
Favorite Dinosaur: Megaladon
Why: Two year ago, on his birthday, Lennrd found a tooth for one, whole and about six inches long. (I am going to have to go find some shark teeth with this guy.)