"To what do you aspire?"
This is a fundamental question I ask my interviewees and it seems apropos to be the first question I ask you.
To what. Do you. Aspire?
It's a big question. It's no softball, to lead things off and get you warmed up. And in that answer is not the answer but rather an establishing point that can unlock wave after wave of follow-up questions to understand how past, present and future come together and form, well, your wonderful story.
The larger context is about story and that aspiration question really kickstarts the conversation.
To what do you aspire?
It's not about trying to best the other answers. If it were, then I never would have chosen to interview up-and-coming professionals or to ask you. Instead, I would have gone "Full Charlie" (Charlie Rose style) and asked world leaders, industry titans, and celebrities about their aspirations.
And they would have reflected back or told me about future plans that, frankly, any normal person like you or me would have a difficult time embracing or even understanding. Hello, Mr. Bill Gates. Hello, Mr. Warren Buffett.
But a Capture Your Flag story is a story that is a bit more approachable because we have so much in common with it. Let's take Shaheen Wirk as an example. As we have seen in our videos since 2009, Shaheen is working his way to find meaning in life and focus in career while managing all the moving pieces life presents - from deepening personal relationships to pursuing cultural enrichment to developing professionally to making a greater difference in the community. Shaheen's story is the Capture Your Flag story. As is the Matt Curtis story. The Clara Soh story. The Slava Rubin story. The Audrey Parker French story.
It is your story.
To what do you aspire?
Do you aspire to be a loving parent? Is your answer tied to securing resources - financial, intellectual, relational - that allow you to be happier, safer, smarter? To be more powerful? To be more respected? To be more loved? To be more charitable?
Perhaps you see eye to eye with Ross Floate and aspire to be a good person. Or else you share common ground with Garren Katz or Ramsey Pryor and aspire to live up to your potential. It may be that you identify most with serving others, such as Jullien Gordon or else you find yourself setting an aspiration to find that purpose a la Gabrielle Lamourelle that will allow you to make the greatest difference. Like Professor Ben Hallen, you may aspire to create an impact as a teacher or, like Idan Cohen aspire to leave a legacy for future generations. Your aspiration may match that of Julie Hession where you aspire to find a career where you use your passion every day.
There are so many possibilities!
Since starting Capture Your Flag in 2009, I've had the pleasure of a lifetime to be able to sit down with these interviewees each year and talk to them about how the decisions they are making and the experiences they are having shape how they plan, pursue, and achieve life and career aspirations.
In that time, through research, experimentation and testing, I have honed my approach to take the answers to the aspiration question and build it into a sharable methodology or model that you can use to “capture your flag” in your life and career.
To what do I aspire?
I aspire to help you live a richer and more rewarding life, not by providing advice from celebrities and experts, but rather sharing real stories from real people living their lives as best as they can. In this blog, I'll ask you questions and provide you with a very detailed set of comparable experiences via our videos.
This instructional model (which we’ve termed Near Peer Learning) presents you with stories from people very similar to you, going through many of the same challenges as you, and brings you their evolving story year after year, so you have a virtual mentor resource rich with examples to support you on your journey.
This week you are going to see many people. Your children. Your spouse. Your parents. Your friends. A neighbor. A colleague. Your spiritual leader. Ask them the question: "To What Do You Aspire?" and start a conversation around what it means to “capture your flag.”