How's your office? Is it comfortable? A place you truly love to sit and work in, where you feel inspired and driven on a daily basis. Does it make you happy? Maybe it's a cube farm, with endless rows of older, or newer and more trendy, cubicles lined up in neat little rows like a human zoo. For all I know you are reading this from the deck of your yacht in the Mediterranean Sea, I can't speak for you and your life. i can tell you about mine and how I sat in a cube that magically decreased in size constantly, staring across the room out of a small window, and wanted nothing more than to leave. All that was stopping me was fear, the crippling fear that leads to waiting for a perfect future to come along and drive change in your life.
Ben Toy has an incredible mission, to help people overcome fear and break through a victim mentality. Think about that for a moment and think about your purpose. I first met him at 1 Million Cups, you may be noticing a theme among connections here. An adventurer at heart, he is intriguing from the moment you say hello. There is something about the way he speaks, about the look in his eyes, that conveys he has lived and learned. Ben has been involved in multiple businesses, seen highs and lows, and now runs two adventure companies in Charleston. We met at his office on Shem Creek, part of the amazing natural beauty that makes Charleston the slice of paradise that it is. Here, on the ramp and walking along the creek, I remember my own adventures kayaking around the area. This is Ben's office, and it is mine for this time as well. He's a genuinely friendly guy who loves to help others, to encourage them to rise up and find their purpose, to live that purpose and triumph. Ben Toy is an adventurer and he wants others to take off on their own adventures as well.
Talking to Ben is a joy, a time where you can gather great wisdom on a number of subjects. We talk a lot about fear, about overcoming its various faces. We often think of fear as sheer terror, the screaming face from films watched with the lights out, but that isn't the only face. For me, my fear manifests itself as perfectionism, the embodiment of my worry that my work won't be good enough, that I will inevitably fail. I talk to Ben about my journey as he shares his with me. I tell him about these fears, about how my wife left me after the military and I became paralyzed by fear, unable to pursue purpose or passion. That is, until I realized I had racked up so many failures there was nothing more to worry about. Ben talks about realizing that these things we fear are things we picture for ourselves. There is no mob of people talking about us, no objective set of standards to measure up to, and not much that cannot be overcome in reality so long as we push and work. He is very much a man who knows his strengths and works with them, rather than chasing every tiny weakness and seeking to conquer them all. It's inspiring.
Ben tells me about how he will not give voice to his struggles until they have become a triumph. He is a believer that the journey is the destination. I have often thought about how we should communicate the struggles and turmoil of our pasts, and his take on the topic is fascinating to me. It's focus is to keep from giving power and energy to those struggles, to make your present efforts more intentional, to focus on the now and then coming to realize that past is truly prologue. I love his mentality. Ben has an ease about him. I wonder if you could even tell if something was going wrong. You probably could at some point, or if you knew him well, but he strikes me as the kind of person who rolls with the punches very well.
Ben and I had been trying to arrange today for a while, and honestly today only happened because of a cancellation. It is a great move on my path to meet him now, as this story nears its end and I continue on my adventure with purpose. I realize, as I am writing this, that I have turned my past into triumph. I am now living my purpose, talking about what led me here, but it is only prologue. The real time is now. I am living his advice without knowing it.
When you are going on an adventure, listen to another adventurer as a guide, they will help you map the way.
Favorite DInosaur: Triceratops
Why: It had both offense and defense.