What Drives You
About a decade ago, I was interviewing for a job, and the CEO of the company asked me a question, "What drives you?"
At that time of my life, I hadn't really begun to consider that for myself. I was at the time a recently divorced, single Dad of a three year old. I was about to switch careers (I got the job), and life was in a bit of turmoil.
I thought he was asking me what drives me to do a good job for the people I work with, or to simply do a good job at work, or what kind of team player I was. I fumbled my way through a few pretty narrow-minded answers.
And then he clarified. "No, what I mean is, what really drives you, in every area of your life? What motivates you as a person?"
I had been head over heels for my son since he was six weeks old. Don't get me wrong, I had always loved my baby boy. I always knew I wanted to be a Dad, and I thought I'd be a pretty good one since I had a really good one.
But one morning, in the first week my wife had gone back to work after maternity leave, I was home with Robbie. It was January, 2007, and I was working at a radio station in Wilmington, DE as the afternoon drive host, and in the mornings I was the Content Director (webmaster) for our cluster of five stations, and did that work remotely from home.
I was about to take Robbie upstairs so I could begin to get ready to go into the studio. I was carrying him in my left arm and my briefcase in my right. As I started up the stairs, I thought, "Not safe. Better secure him a little more."
I put down the briefcase, and as I looked back at him, still in my left arm (I was carrying him like a football, with his little butt against the crook of my elbow and his tiny head in my left hand), he had a half smile on his face. I reached up with my right hand, and lightly tickled him under his chin.
And then it happened: he laughed.
It was the first time I saw and heard my son laugh. It was like, I imagine, someone had mainlined pharmaceutical grade cocaine straight into my aorta. It was a rush like I've never felt before. When I realized he could laugh, and I could make that happen, it was like a drug.
That was the moment I fell in love with my son. It's been like that ever since.
As a parent, for those of you that are, you know this. Once you're in charge of another human being, you look at everything through that lens. Work, people, money, relationships, marriage, food, health, retirement... everything.
Every. Thing. Is. Different. Finding Nemo was a completely different movie for me once Robbie was born. It's like, before I was a Dad, that movie had an entirely different script. Of course, it didn't.
But it sure felt that way the first time after he was born that I saw Marlin look around at his ravaged shell, everything destroyed, save for one lonely clownfish egg.
It's just him and his boy. And every fear, hope, and dream he has for his son.
These days, Robbie is eleven. And every day that ticks by seems a nanosecond. He's growing up so fast. Too fast. I've been struck every day, every single day, by just how light-speed fast life goes with him.
And so, in that moment back in the CEO's office, when he asked, "What drives you," I found my answer.
Everything in my life maps back to my son. Every decision, every choice, every fear, hope, and dream. And in business, every priority, every hour spent prospecting, every phone call, every email, every audition... even every word of this and every post.
I asked Robbie the other night, "What should my next blog post be about?"
It's been about you since the day you were born, buddy. I love you.
What drives you? Feel free to leave that in the comments. Have a great day.