Around the age of nine I strongly considered becoming a street sweeper. This epiphany came after I had watched El Barrendero, a Mexican classic with Cantinflas, and it lasted a hot second. I told my mom about this and I still remember her response very vividly. She looked at me, and without even a hint of mockery, said, "If that's what you want, that's great, but just be best street sweeper you can be, OK?"
You and I often feel compelled to become someone legendary, a person of immense importance, power, and status. You want to leave a thrilling legacy behind, you want to be successful, and usually those two concepts are already pretty well-defined in your head thanks to direct and indirect cues you've picked up throughout the years.
But what about taking a kinder and more soulful tack; what about just trying to be the best you. That may sound hippy-dippy, but it's a lot of work. You need to be aware of who you are enough to do something about it. You need to be thoughtful, you need to have grit, and you need to do the work to achieve your potential.
Maybe the greatest version of yourself means you'll never make the cover of a magazine, but maybe it does mean you will be an amazing parent, one that your children will talk about to their children and so on. Maybe it does mean you will be such a fantastic street sweeper, bringing so much joy and art to your work, that you will cheer up the hundreds of people who will walk by you. Start with who you already are, not with who others say you should be.