He was a boxer, TV and movie celebrity, and Broadway actor.
But today, 65-year old Tony Danza likes to talk mostly about his 2010 stint as a humble tenth grade teacher.
He loved every minute of it, and believed he was doing something more important than acting.
Many of us aspire to fame and riches. Yet, often – happiness comes in the most unexpected places where we may be able to do the most good.
Danza, known for his roles in the hit TV shows Taxi and “Who’s the Boss”, felt no shame in his transition to teacher.
It was, after all, something he always wanted to do, long before he ever stepped foot on a stage.
Danza believed his job was to do more than teach. He urged parents to become involved in the education of their children, noting that “There were evenings when I hosted an open house for parents and I stood mostly alone.”
There was no fall from grace. No major personal problems forcing him to get out of acting. Danza, decades after his original passion to teach, just wanted to give it a try.
Other famous people have also made a dramatic shift in career. Freddie Prinze Junior today is a chef. Funny man Al Fraken of Saturday Night Live became a U.S. senator, once he finally – in his words – “got up the nerve.”
Action movie star Steven Seagal is a reserve deputy police chief.
And 1990s rapper Vanilla Ice now sells real estate.
We too can open our minds to any possibility. No job or position, if it helps people, or makes this a better world, should be seen as something beneath us.
Far too much emphasis is placed these days on getting the “big” high paying jobs which may satisfy the ego, but deliver high stress and often, destructive results.
Society worships the famous.
But the real heroes are quietly teaching our young children, caring for our sick, building our homes, and nurturing our families – doing the things that make a difference in the daily lives of people.