When I think of my most significant accomplishments, they all contained the one two punch of: 1. a clear, unambiguous and unambivalent vision; 2. a commitment to action vs. mere intention. One such accomplishment is speaking before audiences large and small (from the Fortune 500 to the FBI to parents of murdered children), being on the spot on national television (as in speaking live with victims after major disasters) and now having face-to-face time with some of the most respected leaders in the world about what is most important to them.
It all started when I was holding my eldest child at age 3 months (she's now 24) and had this epiphany that when she got to be 20, she would not be proud of me and more likely would be disappointed in me. That was because I wasn't proud of me and it was because I gave into my fears and wouldn't venture out of my comfort zone. I lacked courage and a man without courage is not a man.
Holding her I asked myself, "What am I most afraid of?" And the answer was being on the spot and being laughed at or ridiculed (I'll leave the requisite background that produced such a mindset to your imagination).
So at that moment, 23 years ago, instead of saying, "No" to any and every opportunity where I might make a fool of myself, I instead said, "Yes" to everything. It has taken me to national television appearances on CNN, NBC/ABC/CBS News, Oprah, Today and to the Wall St. Journal, N.Y. Times, Time, Newsweek, Fortune. Sometimes I have made a fool of myself, but ever since I held my daughter, quitting or running away has not been an option.
P.S. My daughter sent me a recent unsolicited, non-holiday email about how proud and grateful she is to be my kid, so I think I pulled it off.