Today is February 6 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you ask yourself if there is something more?” Those who practice the art of living well realize the power in asking themselves the question ‘is there something more.’ Another way to phrase this question is ‘can my life be more than what it is now?’ This is either a yes or no answer. There is no, maybe. The important thing to remember when asking yourself this question is that you do not need to have everything figured out if you answered yes. ‘Is there something more?’ Yes. Great. Now spend time figuring that out by taking some step at a time.
Football coach Doug Pederson did just that throughout his career. Pederson was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) from 2016-2020. In 2017, his second year as an NFL head coach, Pederson guided the Eagles to the championship in Super Bowl LII. Prior to winning the Super Bowl as a head coach, Pederson had a long career as a player on eight different teams. After 14 years of playing football Pederson retired but was unsure if he wanted to coach. He asked himself if there was something more and he believed so. He thought he would try coaching and see if he liked it. To help explore his answer Pederson and his family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana. He applied for the football coaching job at Calvary Baptist Academy, an 800-student K-through-12 school, where he took his sons to school every day.
According to a Sports Illustrated interview with Pederson, reflecting upon his four years at Baptist “I was extremely happy coaching and mentoring young men. Thinking back on those four years, it taught me a bigger lesson. I wondered ‘Can I teach football? Can I coach football?’ The advice that I was getting from some of my coaches and peers was, you need to go find out if you can teach and coach. Do you like the journey? Do you like the process? Even though it was a high school, do you like putting in the time? Do you like teaching? And I did. I loved coaching. And it let me know this is what I wanted to do. After that fourth year, I just started thinking, ‘There’s got to be something more than this.’ That’s when I reached out to Andy Reid.” Pederson played under Reid who offered his former player the job as offensive quality control coordinator. Pederson took that job and would eventually follow Reid to Kansas City and became the offensive coordinator there. In 2016 Pederson returned to Philadelphia as the Eagles new head coach. If Pederson had not asked himself “is there something more than this?” during his time coaching high school, the Eagles may not have been Super Bowl champions. Actor Amy Adams asked the same question to help herself navigate the chaos and practice the art of living well.
After graduating high school Adams and her mother moved to Atlanta, Georgia. She did not go to college, which disappointed her parents, and she later regretted not pursuing higher education. At age 18, and after a few years of practice, Adams realized she was not gifted enough to be a professional ballerina and found musical theater more to her taste. One of her first stage roles was in a community theater production of Annie, which she did on a volunteer basis. To support herself, she worked as a greeter at a Gap store and as a waitress at Hooters. Adams launched professional career as a dancer in a 1994 dinner theater production of A Chorus Line in Boulder, Colorado. The job required her to wait on tables before getting up on stage to perform. She enjoyed singing and dancing, but disliked waitressing. She would lose that job but then went on to perform in dinner theater at Denver's Heritage Square Music Hall and Country Dinner Playhouse.
During a performance of Anything Goes at the Country Dinner Playhouse in 1995, she was spotted by Michael Brindisi, the president and artistic director of the Minneapolis-based Chanhassen Dinner Theater, who offered her a job there. Adams moved to Chanhassen, Minnesota, where she performed in the theater for the next three years. She loved the "security and schedule" of the job and has said that she learned tremendously from it. Nonetheless, the grueling work took its toll on her: "I had a lot of recurring injuries—bursitis in my knees, pulled muscles in my groin, my adductor and abductor. My body was wearing out."
During her time at Chanhassen, Adams acted in her first film—a black-and-white short satire named The Chromium Hook. Soon after, while she was off work nursing a pulled muscle, she attended the locally held auditions for the Hollywood film Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), a satire on beauty pageants starring Kirsten Dunst, Ellen Barkin, and Kirstie Alley. Adams was cast in the supporting part of a promiscuous cheerleader. The production was filmed locally, which enabled Adams to shoot for her role while also performing Brigadoon on stage. Encouragement from Alley prompted Adams to actively pursue a film career, and she moved to Los Angeles in January 1999. She described her initial experience in the city as "dark" and "bleak" as she endured six years of small parts, cancelled shows, and disappointments.
For example, her first major role came in Steven Spielberg's biopic film Catch Me If You Can (2002), opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, but she was unemployed for a year afterward. Adams would have to wait until 2005 to have her breakout role in Junebug and then Enchanted (2006). Reflecting upon her transition from dinner theater to film, and moving to Los Angeles, Adams said “Moving out to L.A. for me was a leap of faith. I was very secure in my dinner theater world; I loved it, and I was just like ‘I think there’s something else out there for me and I just have to go for it.’”
How often do you ask yourself if there is something more?