The other day I was listening to one of Gary Vaynerchuck’s podcasts and he said something that really resonated with me as it’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot recently.
Anyway, Gary was talking about how, if you really want to do something in life, you should just go out and do it and stop making excuses. He spoke about how lucky we all are to actually be alive and how we should be making the most of our lives because things could have been so different for us. He mentioned how, if a tiny change had happened in the milliseconds before we were conceived, there’s a big chance that we wouldn’t be around today. And this idea completely resonates with me. The chances of us actually being born and turning out exactly as we are at this moment, are very, very slim. A nanosecond either way and we may never have even existed. And when I think of that it makes me realise how lucky I am to have been given the precious gift of life and how much my life means to me.
Which brings me on to the bit about…
The Art of Being You
I have only recently realised just how important it is in life to simply be yourself; to be the wonderful, flawed, imperfect work of art that each and every one of us is. However, having said that, although it’s really important to be ourselves, it’s not easy. We’re conditioned to behave in certain ways around certain people. We have to be parents, children, siblings, spouses, bosses, teachers, bill payers, bread winners, etc.etc. and with every role we take on, we add on another layer of someone else’s expectations. We’re a bit like onions if you think about it. The real ‘us’ is at the centre of the onion but it’s covered over with so many different layers that, eventually, even we forget what it’s like to simply be…well…us!
I’m a perfect example.
Because I spent a lot of my early career acting and performing, people automatically think I’m an extrovert. I’m not! (Very few people in the entertainment industry are extroverts believe it or not.) But, because that’s how people perceive me, for years, that’s how I’ve tried to behave. When I worked in banking (yes, I know 😱) I was expected to be a certain person – ambitious, decisive, ruthless, work hard to play hard – and I took on that persona, but it was never really me. As a music teacher – again – you have to behave a certain way towards parents, students, other teachers, etc. …I’m sure we’re all the same. But it is hard work trying to constantly be someone you’re not and it’s even harder trying to remember who you’re meant to be in front of each group of people.
And it’s not just me.
As a singing teacher I have students who come to me with the most amazing voices and what do they tell me? They want to be Adele or Olly Murs or Taylor Swift or the latest star to hit the musical theatre circuit. It’s not enough for them that they have a fabulous voice and amazing personality of their own. They often feel that if they try to become someone who’s already successful, they too will get a taste of success.
And so a while ago I decided that it was time for me to allow my authentic self to be the me that people see when they encounter me.
What I started doing, was to let a little bit of the real me shine through all my ‘onion skin’ layers every single day. It has to be done daily because, like anything that takes practice, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Whenever the mind-monkeys start I simply remind myself that what other people think of me really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. In fact, what other people think of me is really none of my business.
You can tweet that if you like:
It’s really quite enlightening and empowering. When the mind-monkeys start up shouting things like, “They won’t like you if you do that”, “What will your friends/neighbours/family think?” or “You might really want to do this but you’re only going to make a complete fool of yourself.”, I acknowledge them then do it anyway.
And a few things have come out of it.
- I’ve realised that, even if I do make a complete fool of myself, the worst thing that can happen to me isn’t really that bad. As long as I don’t die of embarrassment everything else is bearable.
- Deep down, I actually don’t care what other people think. People judge us by their own standards. They look at the world with their own eyes and they have their own views on what’s right and what’s wrong. If they’re not comfortable doing something themselves it’s unlikely that they’ll want to encourage you to do it either. We’re not all singing from the same hymn-sheet.
- Not everyone is going to like me. It’s fact of life and if they don’t like the real me then it’s just too bad. Life’s too short to be a ‘second rate version of someone else’.
That’s part of a Judy Garland quote. You can tweet that too if you like.
And so, that’s about it for today.
If you’ve ever felt that you’re not living your life quite as authentically as you would like to, I strongly encourage to you start peeling off all those outer layers that don’t belong to you and to finally let the real you shine through. I’m still working on it and have a long way to go however, I feel as though I’m finally ‘coming home’. As I get older I realise that it’s far more important for me to be the real me, instead of a fake someone else. I’d love to know if this resonates with you too.
Do you ever feel as though you’re wearing far too many hats and none of them are truly yours?
Have you made a conscious decision to live a more authentic life and to become the true you regardless of all your quirks, foibles and insecurities? If so, how does it feel?
Is this something you’ve been thinking about lately? Would you love to finally find the courage to be the real you but you’re just not sure how to start?
As always, let me know what you think in the comments.
Finally, if you like this and would like even more motivation, inspiration and encouragement to get you through your day, don’t forget to sign up for the Cupcakes and Cadenzas Newsletter. As a thank-you I’ll send you a copy of ’50 Ways to Feel Fabulous in 90 Minutes or Less’.
Until the next time,