Life isn't about finding yourself...

jeffco sheriffs badge post.jpg

32 years ago, my Grandfather decided to close his Italian restaurant called Cugino's (which means "Cousins" in Italian). His top employees consisted of my Dad and his three brothers (working 16-hour days, 6 days a week). None of them wanted to carry on the business, which led to the restaurant closing down. 

When my Mom asked my Dad, "Well, now what do you want to do?" he responded, "I want to be a cop." Sometime, I'll have to tell you what her response was to that answer ;-). I'll just say that it wasn't pretty at first.

Nevertheless, in April 1985 at the age of 35 he started as a Deputy with Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO). As of last Saturday, he retired after 32-years service to the people of Jefferson County and, for a period, the entire state of Colorado. When he started, he promised to give 110% of himself all the time, to be loyal to JCSO, and to retire from JCSO. Friends, family, co-workers, the current and previous Sheriffs all came to celebrate his outstanding career in which he lived up to his promises.

Oddly enough, last week (the same week my Dad retired) I came across a quote that had a big shift for me:

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

~ George Bernard Shaw

So, what's the connection?

33 years ago, my Dad wasn't a cop. But 32 years ago, he was. He redefined himself and became something new even though his professional career to that point had everything to do with pizzas and nothing to do with law enforcement.

Who you were or who you are now doesn't have to dictate who you will be. It can be very tempting and romantic to "discover yourself" – to define who you are and all the elements that molded you from the past, like a pilgrim sitting alone and meditating in a cave of contemplation. And in the coaching process, we actually spend some time doing just that (not the cave part, but the reflection part). We zero in on your values and which beliefs are important to you. However, those of us who are courageous enough (hint, that's ALL of you) we can stand from that place of knowing enough and then consciously choose WHO we want to be. To be in the driver's seat of life...to be the CREATOR of ourselves.

It's important to pause here and articulate that it's not about creating WHAT you have or WHAT you want, per se...it's about creating WHO you want to be – the qualities about yourself. For example, you may choose to be a calm, caring, compassionate, enthusiastic, thoughtful, mindful, creative, intuitive, committed, service-oriented, or loyal person. 

You get to chose, and then you get to create the circumstances that make it happen. Just like how a pizza man became an honored, loyal, committed, dedicated, and decorated officer.

Tommy Acierno