Authenticity of Self

A topic I’ve been ruminating on recently is that of honesty.

Honesty of intent.

Honesty of action.

And, probably the hardest of all, honesty of pursuit.

When I actually figure out what that last one is, I’ll let you know. But, it’s been a bit of a revolutionary experience, thinking about what it actually is I want to be doing, and whether or not I’m doing that, or just really, really good at pretending I’m doing it.

Yeah, think on that for a hot minute.

It’s thoughts like these that burn me in the moments I let my mind wander – usually at night while listening to a podcast burble away in the background as I watch headlights go by. I’ve made a lot of posts about being busy and being stressed and trying to keep all of the plates spinning at the same time. I’ve also done a few posts on those posts. So, I guess this is a post on the posts about the other posts…




But more than the meta-threading or whatever the hell that would be called, I’ve been trying to figure out what I should be writing about, working towards, and driving my hopes and passions. A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook like we all do, and rather wish we didn’t, when I came across a post/meme that oddly resonated. It boiled down to “What’s the biggest thing that holds people back? Caring what everyone else thinks.”

It’s stupid, it’s tripe, and it’s the same stuff that is shoved into everyone’s heads via all popular media, every day. But for some reason, it hit me right between the eyes in the most underwhelming way possible.

I read it, I smiled a little, I got out of bed and brushed my teeth, and for some reason, a few hours later, driving to work I realized I was at peace, calm, and enjoying the day in a way I didn’t know I’d been missing for a few months.

Fall’s beautiful, people. I know I needed a reminder.


Leaf changing colors at Copper Falls, WI
Such as this.


It’s incredibly easy to look at something and say “That. I want to be/do/have/achieve THAT.” And then move on with your day, content in the knowledge you have made a goal. Pursuing that goal, however, is a completely different story.

When I was 11 years old I told my instructor I wanted to be a champion.

I had no idea what that meant. I made this proclamation in all of my pre-teen confidence and moved forward.

Fast forward 17 years.

I’m still not a champion. At least, not in the same context that I imagined myself all of those years ago. I’ve competed in hundreds of tournaments, traveled the world for karate and become part of a fantastic community of people who all charge about the country doing the same crazy thing I do (just better). And, yeah. I’ve won a bit, garnered myself a few seconds of fame, and made a whole lot of friends who have all pushed me harder, and supported in ways I never would have dreamed possible.

But I don’t think I’ve yet achieved that goal I set for myself all those years ago.

That’s ok. We all make claims and state hopes in moments of comfort without really having any idea what that entails. I probably thought being a champion was something I would be able to whip out in a few months. And then I could go back to LEGOs and Star Wars.

Life is full of these claims and moments. It’s very simple to say “I want something.” It’s incredibly difficult to look back at all the work you’ve done and say. “It’s still not there.”

I work hard.  I try to be a good husband, a good friend, a good son, and I still work on being a champion. But, if I sit down and ask myself, “Am I there yet?”

The answer is always no.

Now there are more goals. I have a big step coming up on the horizon and it will require all the honesty and authenticity I can manage. Three years and some change ago I had a certain woman ask what I would do if I could do absolutely anything.

“Teach karate.” Was the answer. Her reply? “Well, then do that.” Now, fast forward to the present. I married her, and I am set to become majority owner of the Black Belt Leadership Academy.


It’s wonderful. But, if I ask myself, “have I arrived yet?” Have I achieved the goal that I set outside of Ian’s Pizza three years ago? The answer is no.

It’s a step. A huge step. An exciting step. One of the best steps ever! But, it’s not the final step. Just like when I was 11 and wanted to be a champion, I said “teach karate” in a type of blissful ignorance. I had no idea what that would entail. However, a wonderful support system of staff, friends and family have been (and continue to be!) patient as I keep on pushing and learning and growing in pursuit of my dreams.

Thank you, all. 

Now, I just have to stay honest and keep on working.









2 thoughts on “Authenticity of Self

  1. A champion is a person who:

    • Strives to find out how great he or she can be
    • Talks soft, plays big
    • Loves the battle more than the victory
    • Hates to lose, but is not afraid to lose
    • Goes through the fire to reach their goals
    • Always competes with purpose and passion
    • Learns lessons from losses
    • Lives in the present moment
    • Focuses on continuous daily improvement
    • Does not base his or her self-worth on the scoreboard

    In my opinion, you have reached your goal 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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