I heard this question asked during a public speaking exercise the other day. It got me thinking rather deeply. What do YOU see? More importantly, WHO do you see?
The man you see before you is a facade. When I close my eyes, I see many versions of myself, but certainly not the one you are looking at right now. This one looks nothing like “me.”
I see a young, energetic man. Muscular, a nice crop of hair atop his head, and a positive outlook on life, and all that surrounds him. He was just starting out his new career in the world’s finest Navy.
I see an even younger man, vibrant and full of life. One of just a few white people growing up in a predominately black neighborhood. We were all in it together, and we didn’t recognize that there was even a difference in race. Everyone was simply who they were, not a reflection of the color of their skin.
I see a seasoned leader. One who never forgot who he was, or where he came from. He lived the axiom, “Mission first. Sailors always.”
I see a man holding his children, smiling and excited for what the future holds for not only him, but for those he has been blessed enough to bring into this world.
The idea that people see me now as an older version never really plays into my thoughts when I meet with people. You see a 6’1”, 230 pound “larger than life” bald man with a goatee and a deep, booming voice.
In my head, I haven’t changed at all. I’m still all those previous versions of myself. Fun loving, driven, excited and always willing to put others before myself.
Then I open my eyes, and I see what you see. The difference is, I can see the shadows of all those previous versions of myself still there.
This doesn’t make me sad. Not even a little bit! What it does is drive me to find better ways to help you see me; the me I see. You see?
So now, dear readers, I pass the question to you. What do you see when you close your eyes? Most importantly, how are you communicating what your minds-eye sees to those around you?