It was Sunday, December 30, 11:58am, and my palms were sweaty.
I felt like I was in the ninth grade all over again, about to dial the number of a girl I liked, knowing I would just sound like a bumbling idiot when she answered. Only this time I wasn’t in the ninth grade, I’m a grown man and am calling the director of a multi-million dollar foundation, trying to ask for enough money to complete three small water projects in Nicaragua. With all the information on each water project lined out in front of me, I was at the ready to answer any questions. All I had left to do was dial.
For a little backstory, I grew up in a trailer house in rural Oklahoma. The richest person I knew was my best friend Todd, who lived down the road from me and had a trampoline at his house that was bigger than the room my brother and I shared. As a grown man, I’d like to think I’m no longer that poor, shy kid who grew up in that trailer. I have a Master of Science degree in engineering, started two small businesses, and married ‘up’ to a beautiful, smart, amazing woman. But, we all have our own residual images of ourselves that perpetually try to sneak in and convince us that we are less than we were made to be, and mine often tries to tell me that I’m nothing more than the the insecure, poor, freckle-faced kid who lives in the trailer house off of Iron Post road.
Suffice it to say, I was nervous to pick up the phone. I believe with all my heart in what we’re doing, and am willing to do whatever it takes to see it happen. Further, I know that in reality, people that have been blessed with enough money to give to things like clean water projects don’t speak a different language or hold their pinky fingers higher when they drink their cocoa. They’re just like me – people that want to look back on their lives and feel like they made an impact in some way, people that seek things like love and adventure, that read books and watch their favorite TV shows, people that cry when they’re hurt and are just trying to make their way through life like me. People that want to live a story worth telling – whether that’s on a golf course, at the Waldorf, or in a developing country. When I forget the man I’ve become, it can be hard to convince myself that they’d give me the time of day and talk to [what I sometimes feel like is] still that poor, trailer house kid.
I picked up the phone and dialed, and five minutes later hung up with a huge smile on my face.
They agreed to fund the projects, and I’m pretty sure they never realized they were talking to that nervous little kid.
Or, perhaps, the more I’ve realized who I was made to be, the less I believe that I am still that little kid.[fb_button]